Hiker Chat

May 23, 2017

So, what do hikers talk about when on the trail?  Mostly, conversations revolve around topics of immediate concern:

Terrain:  “Dude, did you think that hill was ever gonna end?”

Resupply:  “Are you going into town?  I heard there’s an all you can eat pizza place just a mile off the trail!”

Weather:  “Are we supposed to get any sun this week?”

Gear: “Is that a Zpack?  How do you like it?”

Occasionally, a hiker shares a narrow escape or harrowing experience:  “So there I was, soaking wet and freezing, trying to put up my hammock.  Only I was so cold, my thumb and fingers wouldn’t work.  I couldn’t grasp the ropes to tie the knots!  I had to use my whole arm, and my teeth, to loop the rope around the tree!  When I finally got the hammock up, I just crawled into it and shivered.”

Sometimes, a nugget of conversation turns out to be a gem.  While eating breakfast at Wilson Creek Shelter, we enjoyed speaking with a section hiker named Sunshine.  She told us, “I’m getting off the trail today.  My son is getting married, and the shower for his fiancée is Saturday. I’ve got to get a pedicure before then!  Wonder if they’ll be able to get all the duct tape off my toes?”

Candles tells Sunny and Jay of his brush with hypothermia.


A Bit of Silly

April 25, 2017

Seems like we’ve had days and days of gray skies and water.  Today was supposed to be sunny.  We woke to see the valley below our ridge top completely filled with clouds.  By the time morning chores were completed, the clouds had risen, enclosing us in wet, clingy fog.  We hiked with clouds touching us, or hovering just above us all day long.  Sometimes it sprinkled, mostly it didn’t.  I tried thinking positively – no bugs!  no need for sunscreen!  no sweat going uphill!  Jay was better at sounding truly happy when he told other hiker all those things.  But at 4:00, when the sun shone for exactly two minutes, I cheered!  There were still dark clouds hovering just off the edge of our ridge, but even fleeting sunshine brought hope of more!

We hiked along a ridge top much of the day, only dipping off it every few miles for a brief visit to a spring for water.  Nearby trees and gray clouds were the sum total of our view.  For a few miles the trail dropped down to cross rolling fields and climb fence stiles.  One long swampy area boasted board walks through watery plants.  Fun!
Today’s highlight was a conversation we had with Cashew, a hiker in his twenties.  We last saw him on Saturday, as we left the trail together, but went to different hostels.  Today we re-met as we stopped at a spring for water.
“Oh, how was your hostel?” I asked.
“It was very new.  The owners were still getting it set up.  Everyone was very nice.  They’re building a pavilion for people who want to sleep in hammocks but still be under a roof.”, Cashew told us.
“A pavilion just for hammockers!”  Jay exclaimed.  “That sounds like segregation to me!  If they’re going to make a special place just for hammocks, they should build something for tenters, also!  Equal rights and all that!”
Cashew was a bit startled by this viewpoint, but answered Jay gravely, “I guess hammocks take up less room, a pavilion for them might make sense.”
“Oh, well,” Jay’s imagination had only begun.  “If they’re worried about room, they could stack the hammocks one on top of another.  Perhaps bear cables could be used, to move the hammocks up and down.  Of course, one would want to be careful of who ended up on the bottom at bed time, otherwise everyone would be going up and down all night as people answered nature’s calls.”
Between Jay’s flights of fancy and Cashew’s expressions as he tried to decide whether Jay was serious or not, I was laughing hysterically!  Nothing like a bit of silly added to a day of hiking!