On a Wednesday in the office or classroom, nobody is excitedly sharing their weekend stories anymore, nobody has any excitement yet for the next weekend, it begins to occur to you how much work you have to do to complete your workload before Friday, too many early rises and too much bad coffee that’s supposed to rescue you from them, you are simply IN your work week without novelty.. And that seems to be the general attitude of many many hikers here in Northern California. There’s been a LOT of recent bailouts and break ups. And I understand. One of my personally cherished attributes, however, has been an unwavering ability to entertain myself. I noticed that I just walked past a boiling lake and got giddy about it. I love the changing sizes and shapes of Mt. Shasta and how it just seems to jump out of the bushes every once in awhile. People are complaining about the frequency of being in a “tree tunnel”, but the trees are enormously sexy all huge and moss covered. Lassen, Shasta, Russian wilderness have all had their elements of “spectacular”. I think many of us are just starting to get a little bit tired. I’ve been cleverly creating new and interesting problems for myself that keep me from needing to be ass-slapped by beauty every 15 minutes as well, a gift earned by spending most of my life in a small town. I’ve been sick (again) and have a new and budding ankle problem from walking James Bond style on slanted tread along the sides of steep slopes. I’ve had some emotional challenges that the quietness of the terrain won’t let me ignore. But I’m still incredibly grateful to be out here, living a life that is so incredibly rich and real.. even though it includes its own set of problems.
I’ve been thinking ahead about life and trying to come up with some unique and unsatisfied trail angel needs I could possibly fill and here’s some of what I’ve brainstormed:
• I could hike up to Forester Pass and stay there for a week or two taking photos of hikers crossing the ice chute and email them to them later. Nobody has free hands to take pictures up there.
• I could buy a jeep or Hummer and rent a soft serve ice cream machine and bounce myself around some of these remote jeep roads near the trail playing NYC style ice cream man music (ba-dingity-ding-da-ding-duh-ding, a-ding a-ding duh-ding-ding, you know) and serve sundaes, banana splits,etc.
• I would love to set up a no holds fine dining camp with white tablecloths, loaner jackets, perhaps a violinist, and serve some exceptionally wonderful and expensive food and wine.
• I could rally a local massage school to send a peckle of massage students and their tables to a trailhead to bathe and give full body massages to hikers.
• Garbage dumps. I could set up places for hikers to dump their garbage every 20 miles for a section or two.
• I could hire a minstrel (Monty Python style) to follow certain hikers for periods of time narrating their hike through song. Or have the guy that carries the “You can do it!” sign pop out of trees every once in awhile.
Possibilities are endless… And I have to send out a general “Holy wow THANK YOU!” to the trail angels who have already done so much to keep us hydrated, shuttled about, and sane… Makes things so much easier …