“If I had a gun I woulda shot you both, just so you’d stop moving,” I exuberantly exclaim to my family the night of June 1st as we are putting up our tent. Thanks to some trail magic from our hiker friend As You Wish, we were safely on the other side of what had been shaping up to be a dismal evening.
We had just hiked 18 miles, and the last several were down a mountain in the dark. The dirt road we were on was endless, but on we trudged toward the well-lit desert ranger station that waited at the bottom, its water spigot our necessary goal. The lit station seemed to taunt us as we walked, our bodies wondering why the heck we weren’t asleep yet. The sun had gone to bed and so should we!
“Please, let something nice happen before we go to bed,” I whispered into the night as my heel struck yet another rock that sent painful shock waves up a few tendons.
At the bottom, we filled up our water bottles for the next day’s 18 mile haul to the next water source and set about looking for a place to sleep. We were right next to a highway, and Dad and Nat kept wandering around – trying to find either the trail or a safe place to sleep. I thought any flat piece of concrete looked good at that point and as they kept trudging around – I decided I should kill them. Just so I could stop moving. I could think about regrets later.
But I didn’t kill them. Instead, I sat down to wait for solid directions.
Then, a truck stops. I’m to0 tired to realize how sketchy that is, a dark truck in the night in the middle of nowhere. Then, “Are you okay?” comes from the driver’s window. We say yes. “We’re looking for some hikers – Team No Hurries.”
We tell them that that’s us. (What?! Who would have sent someone to us?!)
“Would you like a burger?”
We are instantly friends with this stranger in a truck. And it turns out our hiker pals As You Wish and Zephyr were in the cab with him. They had hitched a ride to a restaurant and brought back burgers for us, banking on the wild chance that we would be at that station and camping there when they got back (they had been several hours ahead of us on the trail).
A shot in the dark, and it paid off. Our relieved, exuberant laughter seemed to have no end as we scarfed the hamburgers and, happily, went to bed. Something nice had happened, indeed.
I’d heard that the trail provides what you need. It’s been beautiful seeing those moments happen over and over again, when your spirits are low, or things are mellow and you are just moving through this great space and distance, and someone wonderful reaches out and hands you a burger or brings you shade or rubs your feet or lets you use their sewing machine. These have become my most memorable and cherished experiences so far. Thank you, universe.