Day 53: 5/31/14, Wellness Day 4/Trail Angel Apprentice

So welcomed by the wonderful ladies at Walker Pass Ruck trail magic (Yogi, Jackalope, and OptiGirl) when I arrived yesterday afternoon, but this morning I felt curiously stuck between worlds. Or maybe just roles. I’m not hiking right now, but I still identify myself as a current thru hiker. I’m not off the trail per se, and I’m trying to make myself helpful to the folks providing trail magic, but I don’t have a car or major resources to spearhead efforts. Overall, I was incredibly itchy watching everyone hike out this morning. So strange to me since I’ve been wanting to be around other hikers so much for the camaraderie. Part jealousy I’m sure, and part simply feeling that I should be hiking and having to remind myself why I wasn’t. Things got immeasurably better when Writer arrived and we went out trail angeling for the afternoon. Tonight, I’m officially “on vacation” in Ridgecrest with Writer, who so wonderfully invited me along and listened to me try to puzzle out how I was feeling. It’s actually making me feel better to be divorced a bit from the trail at night. (Plus probably better for my lung recovery not to be sleeping in all the dust and wind up at Walker Pass). Today was my last dose of antibiotics, yea!!! I do feel a bit better every day, and the nasty congestion is almost completely gone. Still coughing and my deep breathing exercises are telling me lungs are still not very happy, but gradually improving.

One of the best parts about today – I saw Far Out! I hiked and camped with him on Day 1, but hadn’t seen him since. We were so happy to see each other and that we were each still on the trail. He was at Bird Spring Pass when Writer and I went out there to help stock the cache as we had heard from many exhausted dehydrated hikers that it was empty. Wow, I remember counting the gallons left on Tuesday AM before I left there and while somewhat depleted there were still 60 gallons. The number of hikers who must have gone through is amazing to use that much water from a source all of us try not to count on! As we drove up, several hikers taking a siesta there eagerly got up and helped us haul the crates to the cache.

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I also got to meet the couple who has been helping to restock the cache – they arrived not long after we did with huge containers of water to refill the gallon jugs that had been there. They want to hike the PCT in 2016, and are out on the Colorado Trail later this summer. Thanks again!!

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Cleaning up the area and helping to restock Writer’s trail magic coolers, the water caches, and Yogi’s set up at Walker Pass showed me a lot of what it’s like to be a trail angel – all in all so neat to be on the other side of the coin and I felt the most comfortable in my strange “between roles” to talk with hikers out on the trail vs hanging out at Walker Pass. I found it immensely satisfying to help give back today. Definitely something I’ll be doing on the AT as well once I’m back on the east coast :).

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