Monday, August 07, 2017
A day in the life of hiker trash, nah, I wont go I to the derails. Some habits of this clan would disturb some greatly. Other habits, though would make one think why did humanity ever leave this way of life.
Waking up with the sun to move is one of the most exciting things we do. Some prefer a lazier way to start while heating water to make coffee. Some prefer to pack and go, to be on the trail within minutes of waking.
Bedding down is another ritual. Some will hike from sun up to sun down, eating/drinking along the way. Others, like myself, prefer to look for a spot to set down an hour before sun down and prepare a meal.
Water gathering can take place at streams, springs, and ponds. Most hikers have the Sawyer water filter that screws onto many popular drink bottles and some hydration reservoirs like the Platypus brand. We dip and go, sometimes chill and eat if the bugs aren't bothersome. I have yet to see the bulky, hosed monsters outfitters want to sell a novice. Those monsters are heavy, inconvient, and can break. A few daring hikers chose not to filter, preferring to let nature be.
In town, or at resorts like the one I'm at today, humanity shows up. For instance at the power strip, one could have a brand new iPhone or Sony camera or multi-cell battery pack, yet none is touched except to make room for one more. If one is moved, one makes sure that the disturbed remains in the charging mode.
When a hiker gets a box from the gods, err bounce box or resupply, the hiker will sort what's needed or desired. Once the sorting is finished, the hiker will turn the remains to others. Hiker boxes at that moment can be god sent. I've witnessed some hikers resupply right from others leftovers and others turn their nose up at what is left. Where one hiker sees trash other find gold.
Some will reuse a zip lock bag till it disintegrates. Funny how we won't reuse one over and over at home. Even a disposable water bottle will see use until the plastic shows a lot of wear.
Laundry, half a dozen hikers won't fill a full load. After a load is done then the random who belongs to this article begins. So far I've managed to keep my socks. Speaking of laundry, a hiker can be viewed wearing a trash bag skirt, rain gear, or, gulp, hiker box finds.
Picnic tables load and unload with various conversations from water reports, favorite places, and non-table talk including best practices when bitty things are around. The conversations we have reveal more about a person than years of knowing then could otherwise. One question I like asking about is favorite moments on the trail. I've heard stories of how a days sucked and all of a sudden something cool happened and other times something out of the ordinary shows up to make a good day better.
Another conversation starter is 'how did you get your trail name?' Many this year give insight to the awesomeness of the hike and something fun about the human condition. I haven't heard an HR inappropriate name yet, and if so it's been modified. Names like Fluffy Soup - she added to much water to her mash potatoes, Give a Hoot - he kept picking up trash a long the trail, Double - who ordered 2 of several items off the menu, Rubber Ball - who during a shake down did not want to give up a rubber ball. Trail Names add to the experience of the experience. It's one way that shapes a hiker and allows them to become whom they want to be. Some build upon their personalities like Tripod a photographer by trade.
Several reasons I ask these questions as send make these observations is to help folk understand this subculture. I'll admit this is not a subculture for very many outdoor enthusiasts. We stink, day after day. We do things that others would consider counter cultural like eating with very dirty hands, showing dirty feet that even pedicure folks would triple charge for.
Another reason I ask questions of the hikers is from personal experience. I've re-entered society several times from extreme events of this nature. I know not many want to hear the details. Elevator pitched stories can be too long for some audiences. A quick 3 sentence story is about right for most. I know my own stores can range into paragraphs. Many I've met have no less than 1 1/2 months left of hiking to finsh Washington and flop back to the Serras. For some they will not be able to do so. Several of the hikers I know are on visas with time lines.
For me today, I'm chillin. I'll head off tomorrow. The water reports show good water moving forward and easy miles.
Hike on. Hike Wise.