In the excitement at the start of the hike everybody introduced themselves to everybody around them. Then, after 10days or so, one realises that 60% of the hikers you come across you will never see again. 30% you see maybe twice and only 10% you see (over a maybe 3day period) a few times.
That’s when you remember the child narrator of Little Prince who thinks adults are strange because they think you get to know another by asking his name, where as he thinks it’s better to know how the person sounds when he laughs. And you stop exchanging names (unless you have seen somebody a few times) and rather genuinely ask them how their day is, whether they feel strong today.
The strange thing is though you never see somebody around for more than maybe 3 days (they are faster, you are faster, going into town at different points, taking 0 days at different points) before you lose them, at least every 4th or 5th day you bump into somebody you thought would be days ahead or days behind you. In Hot Springs we saw somebody we last saw 3 weeks ago. At trail magic today we saw a little group who left us behind 2 weeks ago. The trail is the ultimate equaliser.
Trail magic today was 8 old friends who do hamburger & hot dogs every year on May day and they have done this for 15years. They had caramel filled brownies for desert and I had FOUR. I think I might have picked up weight today.
Lunch break (after trail magic) was foodless but just for resting our feet:
We put in a big day today – 27km, pushing to get as close to Erwin as possible. Tomorrow my friend Mathilda (who left SA 25yrs ago and now lives in a trail town Erwin) will pick us up from the trail for a 2-night 1-day visit. She is also taking me to see my friend Stephen (used to be my prof at varsity, then a colleague and then a friend). I am as excited as a child the day before Christmas!