Hayduke Day 12

March 22

A hitchhike in four parts. But first:

Somehow I sleep for over 12 straight hours in my little bed behind the rocks. I must have felt safe and warm back there, knowing snow and wind couldn’t get me. Also, I was exhausted.

As Madeleine and I walk to the nearest road I mention where I would live if I could go anywhere in the country, to which she responded,

“Why dont you just move there then, when you’re done hiking.” She makes an excellent point, and sometimes I wonder if I dont run in the exact opposite direction from the things I want. As if by avoiding a dream, I dont run the risk of ever losing it. Thanks, Madeleine. And thank you for the company!

There was the young woman, en route back to Michigan to finish her final semester as an undergrad before moving to California in pursuit of a graduate degree in veterinary medicine. She had a open map before her and all the direction in the world, an enviable position. Sometimes you meet people and think, “Oh yes, that will do just fine for you, you’ll be fine.”

A young grandfather who worked government jobs and had a quick laugh and broad smile. He played dance music the entire ride. “Good driving music,” he told us.

The 18 wheel truck driver who spent five years in the military and five years in prison and found the only kind of work for an ex-convict was hauling freight. He’d spent time in the war and didnt like seeing people walk if they didnt have to.

Utah native. The born and raised small town local who’d spent his whole life in the same small town and took over the family auto shop after his father passed away. “Shame,” he told me, “All of us who live out here take it for granted. We should be out in this all the time.” As he spoke, Combtooth Ridge spread out behind us and he pointed to a small diagonal line in the distance, crossing the canyon wall. “That used to be the way in; we’d drive it when I was a boy.”

Have you ever seen an entire storm? Front end. Back end. Cloud reaching down to the ground and blotting out the land like black sky-ink. How many times can I say, what a place.. what a place…

The kind caretakers at Hite Marina greet me for the second time in two weeks and give me a couple of ice creams, one for each hand. I wonder who told them that ice cream is my favorite…

So I hardly hiked at all today, but I met new people and said goodbye to my hiking friend. I managed to go a couple hundred miles, all by smiling and sticking out my thumb.

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