Why even walk at all if the destination is a town? It’ll be there all day, I think to myself, and maybe I should let the frost melt and dissolve into the sun before I set out.
But wait! There are many sweet things in town, and wifi, and hot water! Who can turn away such a wealth of riches, so I grudgingly get going.
And then, before my eyes, the entire Henry Mountain Range, snow and all.
Tomorrow’s problem, I tell myself, and I still have to worry about the long hitch in to Hanksville, which needn’t have been concern all. The man who picks me up is a Native American man who thought I was stranded. When I tell him about my trek he asks, completely deadpan,
“Is someone paying you to do this?” And when I tell him no, he follows it up with an equally serious,
“Then why are you doing it?”
Wilderness, man. And solitude. And beauty, and fierceness, and humanity, and Sir Bear, and to be a collector of water and shedder of sand, and hunger, and thirst, and to get that feeling in the tip of my fingers when they’ve been frozen for far too long and have forgotten what it’s like to be fleshy digits.
But I dont tell him these things. I say,
“Because I like walking.”
Which is true.
I dole out money and get food and a bed, and I even meet two other Haydukers (Gabby and Matt–fellow PCT alums) roaming the aisles of the local grocery.
It’s that special time of the year when hikers come out of their long hibernation, and I think we’re all better off for it.