I have been frantically packing for a 21 day Grand Canyon (2019) trip, so the next few posts are typed out on a plane last minute. Hopefully they publish automatically at future dates while I am adventuring down the Grand Canyon.
If you would like to follow:
Back to the AT hike (2013)
As I mentioned earlier, I was tying to avoid reflection. But the repercussions of too much time to let your mind wonder while hiking and the fact that living on a dirtbags budget is cost prohibitive to buying audio books every day to keep your mind occupied unfortunately leads to reflection, mostly about relationships and selfishness. These questions came to mind: Does doing what you love make you selfish? Does compromise work? If you’re happy because you do what makes you happy are you likable or just an asshole? I had a very wise coworker once who said, “I don’t believe in compromise. My wife goes on vacation where she wants, I go on vacation where I want and some times we go on vacation together.” “It just works out better that way.” I have to agree with that! Doing what made each of them happy individually allowed them to be happy together. I also once heard a good analogy for the outcome of compromise. A man was dressing for a dinner party and put on black shoes. His date wanted him to wear his brown shoes, so he compromised wearing one black and one brown shoe; the worst possible outcome in the scenario.
Back to the trail; focusing on not reflecting.
It’s starting to warm up, I have been hiking for a little over a month now with the exception of full blown winter conditions I encountered in the Smokies . Since I began at the southern end of the trail and am hiking north to where it is colder the same time of year, I have effectively been chasing spring as I walk the trail.
I arrived at a shelter late and set up my tent in proximity to some other tents and went straight to sleep for the combined reasons of being exhausted and not wanting to stumble into the shelter making noise and shining light into people eyes late at night.
When I woke up, I was informed I was in a quarantine zone. A Norovirus had stricken quite a few hikers. Norovirus is a virus usually lasting 1-3 days causing diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain in affected individuals. The biggest threat to a hiker, in my opinion, is dehydration. If you can’t make it to your next water source you are in trouble! It is generally spread by the fecal-oral route, touching or eating a contaminated source. For hikers this would most likely be from shaking an unsanitary persons hand, which is why the fist bump is the preferred hiker method of greeting if you feel the need for such greetings. The next most likely culprit for the spread of the virus would be sharing of food; especially reaching into a container, like a bag of GORP, by multiple people. It’s best to pour from the bag without touching anyone. Packing my bag I hurriedly left the area, luckily I didn’t get sick!