(From Ellie's journal, April 3 - Friday)
I've been noticing with some astonishment the amount of trash there is on the trail. Lots of top strips torn from foil tuna packets (Like power gel top strips at a marathon or triathlon) And plastic baggies. Bits of candy-bar wrappers. And dog doo. People are supposed to "go" 200 feet away from the path and bury it 6 inches deep, but they're letting their dogs do it right on the path and just leaving it.
Like most hikers, I keep my trash in a Zip Loc bag. Except then I can't remember which pocket its in so I start a new one, and then I can't find THAT one, so by the end of the day I've got several going.
So last night I pulled out a Wal-mart bag I'd been carrying in case I needed a Wal-mart bag, and found all my trash bags and consolidated them into that. I picked up some trash around the shelter (Gooch mountain). In the morning when I packed up, I hung it by its handles onto my pack belt where it couldn't get lost andI could easily add to it from my own wrappers or anyone elses.
At least that was the plan. At a break I ate a Pay Day bar and picked up someone elses tuna packet and...where's my Wal-mart bag? Definitely not on my belt. I looked around. Maybe it fell of when I undid my belt buckle. Nope. Gone. Non-existent. So I started a new Zip Loc and the losing-it pattern started again.
Now, I'd done a lot of griping and criticizing and beefing to hike-mates about "I can't believe how much trash people leave on this trail. What happened to Leave No Trace? Are they just careless or really don't care or what? It's inexcusable." And now I'd dropped a whole BAG of trash somewhere without knowing it.
My hike-mate of the day, "N-Da-wind" laughed and laughed. I thought she'd break a rib. I laughed too, but I started thinking.
I criticize people a lot behind their backs. This person does this, that person does that, people do xyz. The implication being "Of course, I don't behave like that, I'm better." Yup. Uh-huh. Right. I'd never be two-faced, or talk too much, or annoy anyone, or complain, for that matter. Because I don't do things like that.
My Hero said "Don't try to take the speck out of your brother's eye until you take the plank out of your own. Then you'll be able to see to help him with his speck."
N-Da-Wind, a hardcore biker chick and heavy duty construction worker, when she was finally able to stop laughing, said "Maybe God brought you out here where it's quiet so he can talk to you. There's things he wants you to learn."
So I'm making a special effort to say something nice or say nothing at all.
It rained off and on the whole windy day. There were views bu we couldn't see them. I took pictures of fungi.
The shelter was drafty and cold, and I thought my tent would be warmer. More people showed up and it started crowding up because the weather was so nasty. One guy said if there was no room inside, he'd take the picnic table under the overhang.
I moved out. I might get a little damper in the tent but I'd be warmer, and could get up in the night to pee without stepping on people and/or falling out of the loft. So I moved out. A singing, dancing Irish guy about my age thanked meand quipped "Aye, it's yer Chrrristian dyuty, Mum." I laughed back "Now THAT'S a little below the belt!!" He's walking from Florida to Canada, road-and-trail combo, raising money for Parkinson's disease.
N-Da-Wind and I hiked ELEVEN miles, crashed a mile short of Woods Hole Shelter, and found a great campsite. A gale was blowing and we hung our tents and sleeping bags up to dry. One the lea side of the hill, there was an old logging road, flat, unused, out of all wind. Three men about our age (50's) had built a campsite. Oh, warmth!!
As I cooked my awesome lentil stuff, I realized I hadn't eaten much all day. Some Granola and milk at the shelter, a Pay Day, and 2 six-packs of cheese crackers. Over 11 miles of strenuous up-and-down hiking. I was tired, having given up a mile short of the shelter. No wonder. I can't hike if I'm going to eat like that. I get on a roll and just don't bother. That's gotta stop.
Tendons are doing well, praise the Lord. The last couple hours or miles today they ached about a 1.5 on a scale of 10. I have gone 27 miles in 3 days - a marathon with a warm down. 2156 miles to go. another heartening drop in that third digit. One marathon down, 82.3 to go.
Thank you, Lord.