May 27, 2017
The glorious sun was out, and I was able to start drying my other pair of socks and trail runners while I walked on the road. During my walk up an down the asphalt hills, my shoes begin to dry. I start to feel the smallest amount of strain in my left shin muscles late in the morning, and I am now thinking that this small pain could potentially become an issue for me. I felt trapped, and that I couldn’t stop. I continue walking because I felt that when my trail runners became dry in a few hours, I would be able to change my shoes and all would be corrected overtime.
I walked on and came upon a freshly cultivated and fertile looking field doted with small outbuildings that were bordered by chicken wire, an old barn, and a house tucked away in the corner of the property. Further down the road I see someone hand planting something. I stopped at the side of the road, unbuckled my harness, and walked to closer to the edge of the field, and as I breath in the surroundings and taste the air, the person planting in the filed waves their hand and slowly straightens their back and walks towards me. A few moments later I yell out asking for permission to take his picture while he plants his garden, and with a shrug of his shoulders and shaking of his head; I have permission.
When he arrives and I ask what he he is planting, he asks what I am doing and where I am walking to. I tell him the story I have said many times before, which he is moot about. To my left is a lady cutting the grass, which he waves over while we talk about the black flies and weather. He introduces the lady as his daughter and tells her that I am walking far this summer and she picks up on his misgivings. She responds with “you would have done the same thing if you were able to when you were younger!”
The conversation begins to wander towards how long he has lived here for and how he loves this small patch of land. I later find out that he has lived here for 76 years — his whole life, and that city life is just different. He states that living here here suits him well enough. Although the land he has worked all these years has not provided the great fortune as gauged by the city bound worker, and it probably won’t in his lifetime; however, he has enjoyed his life on this land. After a long pause and quick look around, I stated that I think he has a fortune here, but it’s a different kind of fortune. He shrugs his head, straightens the beak of his blue milk board hat, and quietly agrees with me.
I wished him well, clipped into my cart, and waved back to his daughter while she continued to cut the lawn.
After about three hours, I arrived at the trail head. After some humming and hawing, I decided to back track to a potential camp site I spotted a couple hundred meters back. It was getting late, I was tired, and a voice inside stated that I shouldn’t push further with leg: let it rest.
Later in the evening I was woken up in my tent by a huffing sound, which caused my body to stiffen up immediately. I scurried my hands around the floor of my tent trying to find my headlamp, which ended up being on my head. I grabbed my great grandfather’s old Royal Marine MP whistle and blew with all my might. The huffing stopped, and I clinched the bear spray bottle for protection. After a minute or so, I grabbed the zipper to my tent in the same careful manner as you would move an explosive device or small glass container in a laboratory. I peeked out of the small unzipped hole of the tent door and saw nothing. I then yelled out “Hey, hey, go away” in a prepubescent boy tone, unzipped the door further and swivelled my head around in circles trying to pickup any sign of a murderous black bear.
Fortunately, nothing was observed, and I nervously closed my tent door. I layed back on my air mattress like a corpse with a headlamp on. I was rattled, scared, but half asleep. I ran all the scenarios that could happen to me in my head, but eventually realized there was no need to be scared, of. All food and scented items were hung in a tree far enough away from my tent, and this was just a natural reaction to danger. Being scared is just a reaction, but I must also rein it in, especially when I have done the best I can do to be bear smart.
After a few very long minutes I fell back to sleep and woke up in the morning ready to walk again.