I still have a lot to think about, but I am really missing trail life. I can see why people hike long trails like the PCT. Life on the trail is simpler, easier, more pure somehow. Here are some examples:
- People were their best selves. We leapfrogged the same people for weeks, passing them at creeks, campsites, on passes. They offered encouragement, advice, bandages, and even, once, a camp stove. Then they would fall behind, or cross a pass before we did, and disappear from our lives. We worried about them and missed them; we were a trail family.
- It didn't matter what you did in the "real world." We didn't know what professions people had or even their last names. We made up trail names for them but mostly didn't share them (Tweaker, Chatty McChatterson, Eye Candy, The Gang of Four, Floppy Hat, Hot Smoker Guy, Black Dress). Our group trail name was the Blue Crew, bestowed on us by the Two Bears.
- Water, snacks, shelter, getting over the passes before a thunderstorm: life was boiled down to simplicity. There was time to think and to breathe. This became the only world there was, and it was a world that made sense; climbing from the valleys into the sub-alpine zone, predicting weather from the early morning clouds, finding a flat spot for the tent.
- No buildings. No roads. No cars. No sounds except for the rivers, the crunch of my feet on granite, my breath. Two hundred and thirty miles, all on foot.