The mountains were perfect today. The sun was warm and the breeze was light and cooling. The fog cleared out early and left long clean views and fresh air that had just a hint of spring sweetness. My body is really hitting its stride. My feet feel great and I’ve found my favorite strides for climbing and descending. The days are falling into an easy rhythm of sunrise starts and early lunches followed by an early camp by 3 or 4. It really couldn’t be going any better except for what’s happening above the neck.
I’m getting sporadic cell coverage just strong enough to open the paper for a few minutes. I have a short morning call with Bryan and shocked again with another dose of horror from the news and then I’m in blackout zones for most of the day. My mind races and fills in the rest with the worst case scenarios. My head stories get worse as the day goes by. I’m shocked back into my surroundings by a beautiful crystal clear mountain spring offering cold clean water. The birds are singing in the background. Which is the right reality here. What’s really going on?
At lunch another hiking buddy decided to go home. A victim of the craziness out there that we don’t really understand. Each time someone leaves it feels like a death in the family and I had too much. I reached out to the group and just asked for some help to get me out of the ditch. They understood completely and helped put a few things into perspective and it got me through the rest of the day. One of our buddies Mango is hiking through a stage 4 cancer diagnosis and stopping in Damascus for treatment before pressing on to Maine. He is carrying some heavy stuff through. I can too.
When I got into our camp spot at mile 301 there was trail magic waiting for us! Derrick ran up here from town with bananas, dates and snickers bars. It was such a wonderful surprise and we chatted with him about his impressive ultra running career while we built a fire in the shelter fireplace. Somehow this trail continues to rescue me from the dark place. I think she can sense it and sends something sweet, beautiful or warm ahead. Today, she knew how bad I was hurting and so she sent all three.