Most afternoons I hike Southbound (SOBO) towards Steve. I get to see so many hikers walking my way. It’s great fun.
I can immediately distinguish day hikers and weekend or short section hikers from Long Ass Section Hikers (LASH) and thru hikers. The day hikers just smell good. Their laundry soap, lotion and shampoo are intoxicating!
I’ve had the privilege to get to know quite a few of the thru hikers. And it’s almost as fun to come upon them along the trail as it is to come upon Steve.
The last couple weeks is taking quite a toll on hikers though. A young man from Germany lost his life when a tree fell on him. While we didn’t meet Finn, he is every hiker. I think of him and his family daily now. It was so random and there was nothing he could do differently to change the outcome. I’m looking up at trees as I walk, checking their bases for rot. Hikers we know who were part of Finn’s tramily are struggling. One young man cannot sleep near trees now. We’re in Northern Washington, it’s a giant forest. I pray for peace for Finn and his loved ones.
Last week, I took Shady into Seattle for a couple days of contemplation. She let me know she’s coming back but she’ll be so far behind us that I’m not sure we’ll see her again.
Our good buddy, Flapjack (In blue next to Steve) severely twisted his ankle and had to leave the trail this week.
This evening we learned that another hiker, Skyline, is leaving the trail because of a knee injury. That’s him on the left. I met him and Fun Buns (far right) the first day I got the van. I’ve been seeing them ever since, they joke that they see me more than Steve, who’s the hiker! Raven is on my right, and yes those are my pajama shorts. I saw them at the trailhead at Snoqualmie Pass and hopped out of the van to say hello. Fun Bun’s husband was dropping them off after a couple days at their home.
I’m feeling sad about losing smiling faces that I’m used to seeing. Even if I don’t hike right with them, collectively they become the best parts of my days. The chatting, swapping stories, the laughter.
It’s been so wonderful meeting hikers out here. And trail angels. This community is pretty amazing.