2: deer park to groundhog creek

Well I slept like crap last night. I might as well open with that because the rest of the entry is going to be overwhelmingly positive. There are nights and days when I am hiking that am I miserable, and last night was one of them. 

The shelter was junky. It was trashed and just…kind of crappy. There wasn’t much clearance between the floor and the sloped ceiling and every beam was covered with spider eggs. I kept waking up when things would drop into the sloped metal roof and sliiiiiiiide down. I thought it was some animal just trying to torture me. 

  
I woke up at 3 am to the ground covered in snow. By 6:30am, most of it was gone. I was still feeling lazy, however. 

  
I ate breakfast and packed up eventually, then headed out. 

  
The hike was beautiful. There were gorgeous old trees and creeks and huge rocks. The snow and ice made it even more striking. 

  
I only saw three people today. One man, who passed me right when I was leaving a HAPPY BIRTHDAY VOICEMAIL for Dr Anna Foust (happy 30th, my dearest friend!!) and so I didn’t speak to him. And a couple who sort of gave me directions when I got lost this afternoon. Mostly it was a lonely day. 

But that gave me lots of time to think. I think about all sorts of things, but today I was mostly thinking about friends. Anna, who has been such a good friend to me for so long. Other friends who have played in the snow with me, from the Blizzard of 93, to cross country skiing in the Alps. 

And new friends, whom I have met at school or hiking. It was nice to take out memories while I walked. 

And then I ate more breakfast. Everything gets squished so I get creative. 

  
Aftermath

  
I ate more

  
I took time to stretch

  
I took a load off

  
 
And I hid in a cave 

  
But out of the 23 miles I walked today (yes, 23!) my favorite was Max Patch. It might be one of the most important moments of my life. 

I started walking up

  
It was beautiful and clear. The mountains in the distance were snow capped and bathed in sun. 

  
There were markers leading up to the top. Clouds started rolling in and the snow was thicker on the ground. 

  
I got to the top and there was nothing. Not a marker, not a mountain. Just me and the snow and clouds. It was a vast emptiness and I swear if organ music had started playing at that moment I would not have been surprised. If a bush had started burning but not been consumed, I would have simply stood there. It was like another world, with me at the center. I turned circles with my arms outstretched and just took it all in. My moment of everything. I wanted to own every emotion at once. The world was mine and I was the world’s and here I was, standing at the center of it all. 

  
I kept walking 

  
  
And raced against the sun to make it to the shelter. I knew I would lose, but it’s a fun game. 

  
Lots of animals on the trail. This one stayed on for quite a while!

  
I made it to the shelter and set up bed, cooked dinner, and texted Gonzo and Carpenter that I’d made a 23 mile day. 

MVP: tortillas

LVP: the mouse that ran through my hair at 3am this morning. 

3 thoughts on “2: deer park to groundhog creek

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