I was reading the PCT-L email list and someone posted pictures of thru-hikers they met in Washington. Seeing the people with their hiker trash clothes, gear and behaviors made me lonesome for my tribe. There they were, sitting on the ground, eating, looking dirty and emaciated. I enjoyed the scenery of the trail but I think it was the other hikers that made the experience so wonderful.
Not too long ago I was walking down State Street and saw some street musicians. As they walked up the street they met another street musician sitting on the sidewalk. They stopped and introduced themselves and like thru-hikers on the trail, they were instant friends. They had a familiar way about them that I recognized from my hiking experience. They seemed to move among us in their own circle, instantly recognizable to each other, invisible to everyone else. I had a pang of nostalgia for life on the trail.
One thing that makes thru-hikers so easily recognizable is the hair. Men have beards and shaggy hair. I have to say I envy the ability to grow a beard. It's almost like the men not only put on a trail name but a whole new trail face. I always looked just like myself. I only smelled worse.
The nostalgia has me longing for more. Will my feet ever repair themselves? Will I ever have the strength to make another attempt? I admire my friends who are still out there hiking right now. I read their trail journals and am amazed at the strength they have to still be going even though they are now suffering rain, snow and cold temperatures. How strong they are!
Reading their journals makes me sad. I should not do it. But I do anyway.