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Mark "SlowBro" Hurd
Begins: Jun 28, 2019
Date: Thu, May 16th, 2019
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The other day I was reading my friend Homeworks blog (www.soletosoil.com) about a trip he had done last summer along the PCT. He described an encounter when he meet a hiker going the other way who was limping. It was late in the day and it turned out this guy had substantially injured his knee. Without hesitation Homework volunteered to camp with him and then carry the fellows gear seven miles out to the trailhead back to where Homework had started. The other hiker accepted the offer and Homework was as good as his word.
This got me thinking about altruism on the trail. It takes all kinds of forms. From Trail Angel rides and snacks to feats like Homework's involving big investments of time and energy.
I read an account of an older hiker who was hiking the AT with people he had met along the trail. His feet and knees were taking a beating and he was getting weaker the farther he went. Even though he had hiked two thirds of the trail, he was thinking of quitting. When he told his trail friends this they stopped and gave him a pep talk. They decided he was carrying too much stuff and that his diet wasn't sufficient for the number of calories he was using every day. So they divided up his things and everybody chipped in and gave him food. They promised to help him and walk the trail by his side if he would only keep going. He was overwhelmed by the kindness of his new friends and resolved to keep trying. And they all finished the trail together.
After reading that story and Homework's blog I started wondering if I would ever be that selfless. I like to think that I would go out of my way to help somebody in trouble, but realistically, would I?
Then I remembered, I already had.
It was the last week in May in 2014. I was hiking the PCT and was about to start into the Sierras out of Kennedy Meadows (KM). I had just met an internet friend, Hemlock, and her two hiking friends, Blue Yonder and MeToo ( this was before the #MeToo movement.) I decided to tag along with them when they left KM. On the morning of our second day out from KM, MeToo passed out while hiking. Hemlock, Blue Yonder, and I checked him over, got him wrapped in a space blanket, and fed him warm liquids. He was a 55 y/o male with a history of high blood pressure and it was unclear if his fainting episode was due to his heart, but we decided he need to go back to KM. I said I would walk the 20 miles back to KM with him and Hemlock, to her credit, said she would go back, too. Blue Yonder wanted to press on, so we bid her farewell and the three of us headed back to KM. We offloaded some weight from MeToo to make his journey easier. It took most of the day, but we all made it back safely with no further problems.
Hemlock and I had just hiked 20 miles out. We would have to hike that 20 miles back in. It was a day to hike it each way so we had just added an extra 40 miles and a couple of days to our PCT hikes, but what was important was that MeToo had gotten safely back. Both Hemlock and I had no regrets about doing what we did. In fact I don't think we really thought about it that much. It was just the right thing to do.
As for MeToo. Well, it was never clear exactly what had happened to him, but he recovered fully, continued his hike, and finished the PCT later that year.
Until next week -Happy Trails
SlowBro's Continental Divide Trail Journey
"I can't say as ever I was lost, but I was bewildered once for three days." -Daniel Boone
"The Journey IS The Reward" -SlowBro
"If you feel like quitting, just keep walking." -Gypsy Spirit
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