There are things which happen so quickly that you forget they occurred. Days pass by and suddenly your memory is triggered and you find yourself alone on a trail giggling or maybe making a side comment to your crew, setting the whole campsite off on wave after wave of laughter.
Awesome hiker problems!
Proper hammock setup:
The other night our small group had rolled into camp and were getting set up. Two of us, me and Scribe, had tents and were struggling to find a flat space, fighting gravity all night is never fun after a long hike. Older Dog was looking for a good hammock set up. As we assembled our tents we were startled by a sudden “crack!” There had been no report for bad weather. I looked up just in time to see a hiker picking himself up off the ground, a look of utter shock on his face. One of the trees he’d strung his hammock from was leaning forward, the roots pulled out of the ground. Older Dog felt it best to find some trees which weren’t so close to this hiker. Note to self: when picking hammock trees locate live ones with more than a 5 inch diameter.
Going back into the early weeks of my trip, I had just started hiking with some new folks, Rikki Tikki, Moonlight, and Rhythm. Our pace on the trail was well matched and the good natured humor within the group much appreciated. Our days started out with Rikki Tikki sitting down and playing a beautiful wooden flute.
We would group up and head out. On our third day Rhythm was talking about foot issues he was having, on the trail there is a limited number of topics covered; food, feet, privys, gear, and sex, usually in that order. I offered to hook Rhythm up with a blister pad, my favorite cure for foot ailments, but it would have to wait until camp as it was buried at the bottom of my bag. We’d all settled in and were getting ready for dinner when I remembered the blister pad. I dragged it out of my pack and walked over to Rhythms tent, which was zipped up completely. Without thought I reached my hand up under the vestibule, offering up the blister pad. The screech that came from the tent seemed inhuman, especially coming from a grown man.
It took everything I had not to die laughing, instead without pause I shook the blister pad and said “That’s great, here’s the pad you asked for.”
Without out fail throughout the week you will hear the screech “I’m naakid!” from someone in our group.
Is this my tent?:
Trail Days were a very interesting affair. I don’t dare say they represent the general population of thru hikers as it seems the loudest people are the ones who are most easily heard (surprise, surprise). Unfortunately this was the case late night and early morning. On our first night in “tent city” our small fellowship defined our camping area. We placed our tents throughout a clearing, made ourselves at home, fended off the drunk next door who claimed trail magic filled with lots of cursing and yelling, and headed off to dinner.
We wandered the grounds familiarizing ourselves with the event. After a little time sitting around the campfire we headed to bed. At about 3 am the voices from across the fire grew louder and more obnoxious, it was 3 am after all. I quietly unzipped my tent and called over quietly, “there are about ten folks trying to sleep over here.” The voices quieted and the group opted to move along with quiet apologies. This was bearable.
Night number two. There is a giant fire which burns early into the morning. Folks gather around the drum circle, singing, dancing, drinking. Again we called it a bit of an early night. And again about 2:30am we were disrupted but the drunks.
“This is our spot, I know it is!” One of them slurred.
“No, I don’t think it is.” His more coherent drunk friend replied
“No. This is my tent!” The first drunk announces as he fumbles with the zipper to Scribe’s tent.
“No, this is not your tent!” Comes the quietly controlled voice of Scribe.
“It has to be my tent. It’s talking to me!!”
With repeted attempts to enter Scribe’s tent his friend finally came to fetch him.
He redirected his attention and headed off across the site into the dried creek bed 15 feet away. With a loud crash we hear the scream “I’m stuck in the creek, help me!”
This poor guy must have been having one hell of a night if tents were talking to him and empty stream beds held rushing water.
Sometimes you need to be willing to squeeze in to get where you want to go!