Day 6 — Solitude

Friday, August 10, 2018 — Miles 45.0–60.0 (15.0 miles for the day)

The night feels long and dark, and I sleep on and off. But before I know it morning has come and I realize I slept 10 hours. At no point in my recent memory have I slept this long—not too shabby.

I take my time tearing down camp, devoting a solid 20 minutes to some thorough stretching. I don’t feel hungry, so I skip breakfast but do make some coffee to warm my chilly hands. That done, I load up and begin my hike for the day.

The first 4 or 5 miles take me up the steep side of a thickly forested mountain. Nestled in such dense woods, I don’t feel the sun and move quickly to stay warm, but thankfully the incline has my heart pounding in no time. My pack is heavier than I want, and I daydream about making my brother carry the 6 pounds of tent when he joins me in a couple of days.

The woods are loud, with many bird calls and trees that creak when they rub together. I walk through at least a dozen cobwebs, and it makes me wonder how long it’s been since someone came through here. Or maybe spiders are just that good at spinning webs.

By late morning I’ve finished the climb and emerge in a wide open, sunny meadow. I follow this meadow for nearly 6 miles, pausing a few times to refill water, take a lunch break, and then a latte break. Little luxuries.

This part of the day is an utter delight, and my flesh and soul feel warm and happy. All to soon, I reach my intended destination for the day at the end of Segment 4. It’s only 3pm and my legs don’t feel tired so I decide to add another 3 miles. I can’t do any more than that, though, as I’m trying to time this next segment so that I can meet my friend, Michelle, mid-day tomorrow.

I fill all my reservoirs at the trailhead creek, as I’ll need to dry camp tonight. This adds an extra 10 pounds to my pack, and I suddenly find that my legs actually are pretty tired.

By 5pm I reach camp. I do all of the camp setup as slowly as possible so as to kill more time before bed. But by 7pm, there’s nothing else to do. I’m bored and lonely, and finding that solitude may not be all that I hoped it would. But I suppose when all is said and done that this is a good thing, if only to find out how important relationships are to me. Cheers to seeing friends tomorrow!

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