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Shaving your head doesn't make you tough.
*Note from Kim: Will wrote this, his first Trail Journal Entry, on his first night out - camping at Castle Crags with Chris (his hiking partner) and their friend CC (who drove them there). He will usually update these himself from computers in the various towns they visit, but for this first one, he asked me to post on his behalf. I have copied his entry verbatim, and have not edited it in any way. Per his request, I've also included some pictures from the pre-trip packing and the day they left. I'll add some more pictures from Monday (their first official day on the trail) when I receive them from CC. Enjoy! PS - he said the next few posts won't be so "mopey" ;-) *
A couple months ago, I read an editorial in Spirit magazine about the many benefits of shaving your head ("It feels good! It's transformative!"). I had never shaved my head nor dyed my hair & didn't give it much thought until I started considering my hair care strategy for my 650 mile PCT section hike. My hair begins to get significantly oily about 24 hours after a wash, and with 3-7 days between showers, a shaved head provided a tempting alternative to a distracting, greasy mop of hair. I hesitated a few times before running the electric razor down the center of my head, but after 20 minutes or so Kim & I had reduced my hair to a level 4 buzz, save for a patch in the back that apparently sticks out.
The wind cutting through my little hair nubbins and hitting my scalp is a new sensation, but aside from that and a slightly different look (Kim says Geologist, I say adventure-chic), I don't feel like a changed man. All those tough guys with their short hair & guns & Mike's hard lemonade - let me tell you, it is the man who makes the hair & not vice versa. I just bought a few sausages, a peach, & some pudding at Safeway, & the cashier called me "kid." My badass haircut does not at all compensate for my slumped shoulders, lethargic movement & puffy eyes.
I turned 25 last weekend, but right now I feel more like a kid than a man: very vulnerable, nervous, and most of all extremely sad about not seeing Kim for almost 2 months. When we started dating 4+ years ago, she lived in LA & I in Berkeley, so we had many tearful goodbyes following long weekends & holidays. Perhaps that should have prepared me for today, but this feels worse. Maybe I don't remember how it feels because it's been so long sine we've lived in different cities, but right now my predominant thought is hiking quickly so I can come home & see Kim. My emotions are further heightened because, unlike my visits to LA, I'm not simply returning to my comfortable life & its predictable events. I'm heading off into (what is for me) the unknown, & what is (again, for me) a pretty remote & intimidating unknown. While I'm confident in my ability to return from this alive & healthy (logically, I know that the most dangerous part of this trip is the 4 hour drive to our starting point), I'm stepping (ok, hiking) way out of my comfort zone & I hope I'll be able to handle it.
Lucretia Walks Into The Woods
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