Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hike: Gooch Gap

April 20th 1998--campsite near a spring just past Gooch Gap

I'm bypassing the shelter tonight: when I got to the sign I was having too good a time, feeling good about my pack-weight and how sweet the trail has been to me. I'm not much farther past it, maybe 1/4-1/2 a mile, but it seems right to be doing a night on my own early on. I've been enjoying the company, had a good lunch with those nice boys from Ohio and the platinum-haired quartet, spent over an hour and a half chatting at Justus Creek, letting my toes enjoy the air and sun, but I don't want to get lulled into the social scene, even--perhaps especially--such a nascent one. It's too easy to think about people, to feel like I have to be part of whatever's going on; that's what made leaving Philly so hard. I have no doubt I'll make friends out here who will be important to me, but I want to build time for solitude into the trip. I've been doing so much leapfrogging on the Trail that I hardly feel alone when I'm hiking, even if Diva Dog is the only one hiking along with me.

Wildlife on the trail today: butterflies, may generic blue ones, an elegant black-and-orange one, and one black one flecked with tiny pale spots; a gleaming back snake with thin yellow stripes, perhaps afoot-and-a-half long that Diva Dog scared onto the Trail and which slithered in front of us for a few yards; gleaming, iridescent mesh-like webs of what? ground spiders? spun between crevices of rocks on the Trail; two snails locked in somewhat more than an embrace, one above the other on the side of a hill, between them a blue, translucent yin-yang of snail sexuality

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