This hike, and this blog, have brought me back in contact with lots of old friends and family members I don’t see much, and this has been really nice.
My 17-year old cousin, who is more-or-less a total stranger to me, contacted me last week and said he might like to hike some of the trail with me. I said, “Sure, that would be fun. Best to come early before I get all burly and fast and you can’t keep up.” Then it looked like he could start with me in Campo, which is certainly early! But a good time since I will be at my slowest.
Last night I asked him how long he was figuring on being out? How far did he want to go? He replied, “Well, certainly not much past Tahoe.”
What?!?! That’s like 1200 miles!
This is obviously a huge change. I have heard how difficult it is for couples to hike the PCT together, and for that reason I deliberately did not search for a hiking partner among my friends. I planned to make friends with some like-minded hiker(s) who hike like I want to hike. I hear that is a much more successful strategy. Or just hike alone, I’m cool with that. But I’m game to give it a try.
The biggest problem at this point is he has almost no gear, not much money, and I start driving to the trailhead a week from today. We’ll work on transferring my 30 years of woods knowledge into his unexperienced brain once we’re out there, but in the meantime, just as I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with all my preps and plans, I feel like I am suddenly planning a whole new trip. The gear, the food, the permits, everything.
I’m not sure if this is harshing my buzz or not. I guess I really won’t know until I see what kind of person he is, how we get along, and how we hike together. Naturally, he’s being extremely deferential to my wishes, and I am free to tell him to leave whenever I want. I’m not sure that really helps, but I guess there’s not really any other way it could be.
On the plus side, assuming he likes it, this could be a huge life-changing event for David. I don’t have any children, and am not likely to in the future, so this could be a big chance for me too. I would be happy if my legacy to the next generation was to instill a love of nature and hiking in someone who would carry that love into the future. The early trips my father took me on certainly changed my life in profound ways.
So, now I will not be going alone. At least until after Tahoe (HA!). I was a hiking animal when I was 17, so I’m guessing he’s going to be waiting for me a lot. Maybe I can load him up with gear to slow him down. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, dear reader, let’s welcome David to the team! And wish us luck in our future relationship. Sometimes arranged marriages are the best, right?
The PCT does seem to have some strange magic that pulls people together…