Silver City, New Mexico. A place with south western style, burritos on every corner, coffee, beer, and friendly locals. Basically, an oasis for hikers thru and through! I’m here with my friend Stephen, Jay (a hiker from DC) and G-Funk (a hiker from Austria) who both started on the same shuttle as I did 7 short days ago.
In 7 days we’ve been scorched and snowed on. Lost and lonesome. Hungry and happy. It’s a perfect slice of trail life. I’ve been telling my family and friends that so far, what I love most about this trail is it’s intensity. Because of it, I feel like we’re a similarly focused bunch of individuals. In past thru-hikes, the start feels more like a party. This time, it feels like a back-country experience.
Two days ago, I woke up at a windmill with Jay and Stephen. We got moving pretty early, and it started to rain, and then within the hour, snow. We were wet and cold and thinking, ‘This is going to be one of those keep moving or freeze sort of days.’ When out of the trees, emerged a dilapidated shelter. Or half of one at least. We were stoked like kids going to Disney Land! Ran for it to find 5 other hikers already huddled inside. We were immensely lucky for this rusty old structure and so aware of it. We shivered together and told stories of previous trails for 3 hours, until the rain and sleet let up. Then we hiked on through some beautiful stuff, the Gila National Forest topped with an inch of snow. It was marvelous.
That’s what thru-hiking has really given me. Gratitude! Copious amounts of it for things like warm cups of coffee and rusty old structures, and more than anything, the people to shiver with!