Don’t think, just hike.


suzie.riedel

👣 Location: Damascus 👣 
My emotions change as quickly as the trail gains and looses its elevation. It’s hard to describe but the minuet I leave town I am alone again and my emotions are heavy. I’ve talked to 3 people today, one of them being Bobby. The second was the woman at the dollar general who couldn’t read my ID when I bought a small box of red wine. The last was a old man eating a ham sandwich in the park. He tells me he likes cycling cause he can carry more food and whisky. He holds his belly when he laughs. He watches my bag as I wash my socks in the parks bathroom sink. I don’t feel alone per-say, as I mentioned it’s hard to describe. The instant I am back on trail I am enveloped in solo silence. As I hike away from civilization I am alone with my thoughts again. My first are this: I think I’m a bad backpacker. I think I have bought way too much food. I feel the weight of it, dragging me back as I trudge up the hill. I am frustrated with myself. “Don’t think, just hike” I repeat but my thoughts stray to the days ahead. Then I am hiking along side a river. It flows loudly and cuts though the silence around me. I tell myself to keep hiking till 7pm. I find a cute place, tucked in between where the river splits in half. I hop over rocks until I make the bank. I still haven’t said a word in over four hours but I decide I’m ok with that now. There is a difference between loneliness and being alone, and I think I am finally discovering that. I set up my camp and take my box of wine to the river. At first I just think to soak and wash my feet but then it hits me. “ Do it Suzie, you’ll feel much better” I say aloud. I grab my soap and take a bath. The water is early spring time cold. Icy refreshing, and I have my wine to warm me up.
I am doing this right. I am happy now to have extra food. I am content alone amongst the speaking river and my quiet thoughts.

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