May 10, 2010

The hiking community is something different than I expected, in a good way!  It feels like the way a community should be.  On trail and off the community is great.  While one hiker is not responsible for another, there is a sense of comraderie that if something does happen there are a ton of people that have your back. 

In town it is nice to see the people that are all around you on the trail, but that I don’t necessarily see.  It is good to catch up and share stories.  It is nice to be able to go into a restaurant and sit with hikers even if you didn’t come with them, or to say hi to them in passing.  We are really easy to recognize.

On the trail, the community is even stronger.  Who you see is obviously all up to chance on the trail.  Everyday feels so long, yet so short too.  When all you are doing is hiking and chatting with hikers you get to know them well within a couple of days.  For instance, I met Wolf Taffy, Anne, and Guthook only 2 weeks ago, but it seems as if I’ve known them for months and months, despite the fact that it hasn’t been that long.  All we really do swap stories in and out all day long.  There is also a strong bond and understanding between hikers too, sharing this intense and common experience. 

There have definitely been some hikers who I have connected with much better than others and the connection is realized much quicker than out of the woods, at least for me.  I get along really well on many levels with some hikers and the converstions have been really meaningful and interesting.  Also, sometimes without even realizing it, some interactions have profound attitude adjustments for me.  Hiking with Crow Dog I just started to feel really positive and excited about the trail although we weren’t really talking about moods on the trail. 

People who aren’t hiking are so receptive to our journey.  People are willing to give rides to the trail, tote us around town to run our errands, punch in their numbers for savings at the grocery store, or just even walk up to you and say “You’re a hiker, right? I can spot one of you from a mile off!”  My favorite is when a local gives some bit of interesting history about where the trail goes through.  Since we cover such a large distance it is hard to comprehend each area we go through.  I like to learn about where we are walking.  I would love to know more around the flora and fauna too and like hiking with people who do know about it. 

Some of this might be abstract, but since I have the time today I thought that I would delve a little bit more into the experiences I’ve been having.  So far people have been really supportive and great.


7 Responses to “Hikers!”

  1. Conor said

    You should look for cool fossils if you are interested in the flora and fauna!! The west coast has a much more interesting history than does the east coast. You can find some huge fossils out there since it was a shallow ocean until recently… well, in the last 90 million years or so.

  2. Dad said

    Your writing really has the power of the trail flowing through. I cannot wait to see your journal. I get more excited about coming home to read your blog and reading pct parents than any book. TV and movies pale. On the trail name issue, having backpacked with you multiple times I put forth:
    Pet theme:
    Socrates: Hemlock
    Hugo: Nor’easter
    Emma: just a beautiful name
    Melville: Trail Whale {maybe not so good}
    Sammie: you know
    Mythological theme:
    Jody: Trail ghost
    Clickstick {left/right/left/right/left}
    But decide on your own or let your best new friends. At least you can spell comraderie correctly. I did not feel like getting off the couch and couldn’t remember it at the time. Love Dad

    • kerryneal said

      Stop trying to name me! I think today alone at least 4 names have been proposed! It has to have a trail story or something substantial. I’ll know it when I see it. I’m not worried.

  3. Dad said

    Your response is priceless. The Kerry I love. Dad

  4. Mom said

    I think you should tell dad he already gave you a name almost 25 years ago.

  5. Melodie said

    Hi Kerry! I want to be there with you. Kill, kill, kill! Grab ’em by the throat and drag ’em to your den! You know, good luck.

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