The weather has been more temperamental recently with plummeting temperatures in the evenings and the regular threat of afternoon thunderstorms.
Our path takes us up and down on ridge lines all day. Legs exhausted, asthma wearing me down, rain, and cold. The motivation to push and do big miles is at a minimum.
We are all happy to do whatever we end up doing, enjoy each other's company, get into camp before the rain, make a fire, and tell jokes over dinner. It is, overall, a very happy time.
This leg is full of getting to know each other more deeply and creating new dynamics in the group.
I've been enjoying the luxury of my sleeping bag liner. It's a Sea to Summit 25+ synthetic liner and it adds so much comfort in the form of added warmth and snuggle-ability! Having something soft on your skin makes those nights on trail that much more enjoyable and comfortable. A big thank you to Grim for making the recommendation!
I've been hiking with Grim, Mehap, and Apache a lot, with Guy and Wonderer hiking on and off together. It's been good.
I've been continuing to push myself on the uphills and keep pace. I can feel myself getting stronger and faster. I am becoming a walking machine!
The transition from Nom and Guy as hiking partners to the bigger group has had its ups and downs as is normal in any group situation. Overall it is great though and any kinks in the system generally get worked out somehow, though often I don't understand how. Being the only woman in this group is interesting. Men communicate differently and they solve social problems differently. I have to admit, it was intriguing and a great learning experience!
This was the point on trail when I started to think about working at Warren. Why wasn't I there now? Why wasn't I directly impacting people's lives there rather than doing this? Was I being selfish? Was I enjoying this as much as I expected? It wasn't so much that I was questioning if I should be out hiking so much as I was questioning why I wasn't working at Warren instead. I kept these thoughts to myself until we caught up with Whistle again.
She managed to let herself be convinced to hang out with us a little longer and drive her car to the road near Lima, where we would be theoretically getting a ride into town.
Double Rainbows find themselves living near Lima, MT. It is the gathering place for them. Almost everyday double rainbows appear in the sky as yet another thunderstorm passes, moving away from us. We feel as though we've found the end of the rainbow, and the treasure there is more rainbows to look at with an epic backdrop. I'll take that over a pot of gold. The cacophony of cows mooing and yelling at each other and at us reminds us that we are not THAT far removed from society.
This relatively short section finds us on a meandering dirt road walk, taking us through fields where people and cows spend their time relaxing. We were not sure if Whistle was going to hike with us or just wait for us in Lima until, there she was waiting with Oreos, Doritos, and drinks by her car!
It was just pouring rain on us as a storm passed through when we saw her! We only had a few more miles to go before we hit the main road where we decided to camp for the night, and Nero into Lima the next day.
Whistle and I decided to just sleep in her car and chat about expectations, experiences, this summer, and plans after trail. That was when I opened up about my heartache for Camp Warren. How I missed the community and the love, singing songs, running around, and playing with kids all day. What if I called Dave and asked to work at Warren this summer? Would it work out? Would I regret getting off trail?
Out of coincidence, Whistle would be driving through Chicago on her way back home to Michigan in few days. This gave me the opportunity to catch a ride with her and take the train to Minneapolis. It would be so easy! The temptation! I had to think about this. It would define my summer and my whole hiking experience.
I'll give it our day in Lima, then I'll make my decision.