Usually I stay in the shelters but there are two men occupying one half of Pine Swamp Shelter, and their stuff the other half.
They look like father and son, but no, he’s his son’s friend. The son dropped out due to a broken heart.
The father also has a broken heart, he’s hiking to heal from a divorce. He says he just started feeling better, after 1500 miles.
Hiking with a broken heart is terrible. It is heavy load. Heavier than carrying two of everything in your backpack. The father did just that And! with a broken heart… Oh the agony!
I set up my poncho tarp away from the shelter and throw on my headnet and wait for nightfall. The buzz of Mosquitos keeps me in a semi conscious state for most of the night.
Below the campsite there is a swamp and two owls on opposite ends find each other and talk. One ends on a high note, the other low. Sometimes they interrupt each other. I suspect I’m eavesdropping on a very important conversation but I don’t know what it’s about.
In the morning the two men are gone. In the shelter I find a Kmart brand synthetic sleeping bag and heavy knife that only a bogan would buy. Why do I always find things I don’t want? No one wants. Thankfully there is a dumpster in 6 miles. I roll the sleeping bag around my arms because it won’t fit in my pack.
I think about love and stuff as I walk and try not to step on newts.
I think about a Southern man with the most beautiful layered blue eyes I’ve ever seen and a Zpacks pack, who walked up to my canvas tent at Sages Ravine one day. He drinks water out of a mouthwash bottle. I thought it was a strange choice for a water bottle, but he’s been using it the whole way. He doesn’t say much. When he talks he has a thick southern accent, so much that I can’t understand him.
“So how do you like that pack?” I ask him.
This is what I know.