He sat in the dirt resting his back against a graffiti covered wall. Cleanliness had long since become a secondary thought, and a little dust would not make a difference anyway. Grime is caked upon his legs and face, and found comingling with the dried sweat on his shirt. Someone hands him a small plastic bottle of cheap tequila. He takes a swig without much thought and passes it on in a fog. Next to him, two bearded me in cotton sweat suites eat cold beans out of ziploc bags- with their hands.
It was about this time I contemplated if I was a hiker, or a homeless man lurking under a bridge in the desert. Choice- It is the only difference between a hiker and a bum, and maybe a $200 down jacket.
Hikers are weird creatures. They enjoy the primeval action of long distance bipedal travel, and are usually naturists or hippies, but they also are dirty, desperate little bastards, clever enough to yogi some food or herb from you without you ever knowing what happened.
We are all clever out here. We all ask when we started and then compare our paces, gear, etc. It’s not far from regular life, except maybe for one glaring difference.
99% of the hikers I’ve met, whether they be first timers like Tuck from Kentucky, or old salts, like the infamous Legend and Mover, are good people. I’ve spoken with a few people who where defensive in their hiking style. “I am going to do it my way and some people don’t like that.”
I replied that, at least in their ignorance, they have decided to do something purely benevolent to the spirit, which is commune with nature in the most basic human way.
My spirit is enriched and heartened out here. I have spoken to my soul and found that I like many things about myself and dislike others. I’ll walk some more and see what happens. So long for now.