Location: Northern Outdoors (Carratunk, ME)
No entry. I hiked to Northern Outdoors. I failed to hitch a ride because of the rain. I felt awkward, almost embarrassed, about hitchhiking. I felt angry when people didn’t pick me up. The road was full of logging trucks that sped down the highway, spraying me with water each time they passed. The occasional trucker blasted me with his air horn. I walked a tightrope on the highway shoulder, wiping the dirt and road grit from my face with each passing truck.
I am staying at the river camp one more day. For 10 dollars per night, I can’t pass this place up. It is practically a resort. There is a hot tub, pool, and brewery. Cecil left today. He was eager to continue down the trail. We became good friends last night. We talked for hours, but when I woke up this morning we greeted each other as though we had known each other for years. He offered advice on the best way to get to Alaska. He said that by getting certified as a teacher, I’d have no trouble finding work in rural Alaska.
This morning, when Cecil had packed his bag, we shook hands and he began walking towards the road. A sudden sadness came over me. I watched every step as he waddled away with a fifty pound pack. I watched him through the leaves until he finally disappeared at the turn in the road. I know that I’d never see him again. He would hike north and I south. He’d return to King Salmon, Alaska when finished and I to North Carolina.
Camaraderie develops quickly between AT hikers. People that I’ve known for days become dear friends. I unashamedly share all my thoughts and concerns with those I befriend on the trail. I get really down when I think about many of them though because most I’ll never see again. They have either left because of injury or pushed ahead of me. I don’t have their phone numbers or email addresses, many I don’t even know their real names. I will have good memories and this journal, but I’ll still never see them again. I’ll never know if they accomplished their goals or made up their minds about the major decisions facing them. I’m having much difficulty dealing with that separation.