Free shipping on all orders! (U.S. only)

December 8 2023, Browning Hut to Slaty Hut:
We knew today would be a rougher day in comparison to yesterday, so we made sure to bulk up on calories. We took a break at Hacket Hut for breakfast, then it was time to “walk the stream” as Orange liked to put it.
The crossings reminded me of the Gila wilderness when the trail crew thought it would be fun to make the path cross the current numerous times back and forth for no apparent reason. I was trying to be very mindful with my footing, yet I kept slipping. The last crossing in particular, I fell and slipped onto my back into the water! Naturally I laughed, but my legs felt super shaky afterwards. I felt like a cat who got a bath it didn’t ask for.
Orange and I kept drinking from multiple streams today. It was implied we wouldn’t be filtering for the rest of the trail. At one point, he simply placed his entire face into a stream and drank away. When he raised his face, his beard was dripping wet. He released a grunt of satisfaction.
I placed my hands on some wet moss to feel into the mana. It reenergized me for the climb again. I thought the AT had a root covered path but the TA quickly took that place. This trail had roots protruding out of the dirt and hovering above the ground. We would often have to lift our knee close to our chest by how drastic of a step we would need to take in order to step over them properly. I saw how one could easily slip or lock their foot and break it. It was truly a tough climb, but I couldn’t complain much. I was living. I was breathing. It was perfectly chill in the air. I was with good company. Life was good.
We took a break at a hut. Inside there was a wifi password written in pencil on the wall by what appeared was done by a 12 year old boy. I wondered how many people gave that one a go.
Orange Man signed our names in the log book then offered me some kratom. He said it was a natural medicine coming from plants crushed into a powder form that would help provide some energy while simultaneously relaxing the muscles to bring about more flexibility/movement.
“It’s banned in my country,” he said.
“Why?” I asked, “isn’t it all natural?”
“Yes, exactly,” he said, “it has so many benefits. It curbs your appetite, takes the soreness away from your muscles, uplifts your mood, gives you clarity of mind—and, it’s natural. The government wouldn’t make any money off of that.”
I was sold. I took it the way Orange would take it which was by dumping a scoop into my mouth and swallowing it with some water. It tasted terrible and I nearly coughed it up.
Twenty minutes in, all and any of the pain I previously experienced in my legs immediately dissipated. It was better than any over-the-counter drug I took. I felt so good in my body that I started doing squats and lunges mid-walk. I had so much energy! I started running up the trail and laughing from joy. I felt weightless.
During the experience, I witnessed the importance of keeping things light. When one became aware to the perception of the government basically wanting to kill us slowly, it could instill fear in one’s mind, however the knowing of it was more-so just to recognize it. Over time and naturally, it would allow one to be guided to move in a different direction to a place that was apparently more sustainable for one’s well being of mind and body. Everything would get taken care of. There was no need to lose sleep over the sense of worry. In fact, everything was already taken care of. Now, we were all just watching images of the world passing by of what never was to begin with.
As we began to climb up in elevation, the views opened up as we walked upon dry, jagged rocks. We stopped for a moment to get a look at the views of mountains and trees blending together. I could not stop talking all the while before that, but upon witnessing the open valleys and escalating ridges, I stopped right in my track. It actually took my breath away and my words skipped a beat until they came to a stop, ceasing to exist.
My eyes filled with tears and after some time I said, “I’m so happy right now. I’m so grateful for the mountains.”
Beauty that humbled me. I wanted to capture that image in a bottle and carry it with me, and in a way I was. It was in my heart and I would get to carry that memory throughout the footsteps of my life.
We came across beautiful light blue moss covered rocks that appeared bubbly and puffy.
“Oh my god, oh my god, you know what these are like?!” I said excitedly. “Rock clouds!”
“They most definitely are like rock clouds,” Orange said with a smile.
We descended into the trees, the scenery quickly changing and shifting, hugging us with protection. We discovered plump little mushrooms and mint green lichen. We took a break on a soft piece of bright green moss, surrounded by thousands, maybe even millions of trees.
“We are like the trees,” I said with joy in my heart.
“We are the trees,” Orange said.
We continued walking and I excitedly spotted out a perfectly round piece of moss. Gosh, I loved fat and fluffy shaped objects. They seemed to bring me so much joy.
Prior to arriving to the hut, we spotted an overlook that was just off the trail. We meandered down to it and looked over the edge. It felt the view was all for us. A strong gust of wind kissed our cheeks. I closed my eyes and felt.
“We are blessed,” I said.
As I opened my eyes back up and looked into Orange’s pupil, I felt a sense of relaxation. I wanted to cherish our friendship. All of the anxiety I felt around the idea of whether or not he liked me, if I was going to hurt him, what I was going to say, etc.—all of it just melted away in that instance. It was a waste of time to cloud my thinking with thoughts that were taking me out of the present moment with him.
“I’m so grateful I got to come see you,” I expressed as we walked back up to the trail. “I prayed for it many times. You made such an impact on me when I first met you.”
“You did for me, too,” he said.
Upon arriving to the hut, we immediately got cozy by laying on the mats. Orange made a fire as I wrote. More hikers showed, then we all gathered outside to make dinner. Orange made spaghetti and threw in a bunch of freeze dried minced meat that was meant for five servings.
“Doesn’t even come close to regular food,” he said as he took another bite. “It kinda tastes like dog food.”
I began reading my new erotic book. I ducked my head and hid the cover away from the folks as to not make it too obvious or uncomfortable for anyone.
“Watcha readin’?” Orange asked.
I quickly pulled my book down and squeezed it shut with my knees. I blushed. “Why would you say that?” I asked.
“I mean it’s pretty obvious,” he teased.
I found it interesting how most people set up their tent beside the hut instead of choosing a warm shelter with mattresses to reside in for the night. Elodie had her stuff in the hut but then last second decided to set up her tent outside. She was in fear of the possibility there would be mice roaming around inside.
“I heard they run across your face in the middle of the night,” she said.
This girl would not survive the AT, I thought to myself.