Keep the Mountain to Your Right
Four days, three nights, roughly 41 miles, all of it with some sixty pounds of gear and food strapped to my back. While on the trail, I made a comic when I woke up, one when I stopped for lunch, one next to the fire in camp in the evening, and one during my normal time: at night, right before I fell asleep.
Day One began at the Timberline Lodge with 40 mile an hour winds making me seriously question some of my assumptions about the trail. I said my electronic goodbyes, pulled on the coat I thought was just for emergencies, and hiked the ten miles to Ramona Falls.
Day Two was probably the most solitary day, and certainly the one with the most forest to walk through. I climbed Bald Mountain, I walked about 10 miles, and I camped out at Coe Creek.
On Day Three I faced the difficult and dangerous crossing at Eliot Creek. Along the way I met Richard, a 20 year old who was also solo hiking the trail. We’d somehow started at the same time but not bumped into each other. He became my traveling companion until the last stretch of the hike on Sunday.
We talked about life, hiking, relationships, our childhoods, and a hundred other secret things that we only shared with the rocks and trees.
The final day was across long, open stretches with nothing but harsh sunlight to keep us company. I was tired, but the end was so close.
I’m writing this weeks later and could tell you a thousand details that I missed in these comics and in the stories I’ve told friends and loved ones, but the main thing I want you to know is:
I miss the mountain.