[Cdt-l] Being alone on the CDT

Paul Magnanti pmags at yahoo.com
Sun Nov 28 18:58:07 CST 2010

Something I wrote in my CDT journal ~6 wks after I started.  FWIW, with the 
exception of Wyo, I wasalone a good chunk of the trail.

As any thru-hiker will tell you, trail time and "real world time" are 
different. Six weeks on the trail is not like six weeks back home. Time
dilates out here.Every day is long and filled with something new. And
by hiking solo, the "trail time" feel is magnified significantly. The
emotions are more intense solo. 

When you are in your own head for hours
or even days at a time, everything looks and feels different.

 And that
is why I think hiking with Tradja and Jess was so enjoyable. I may
enjoy solo hiking, but part of me very much needs a sense of community at
times, too. Balancing a need for solitude with a contradictory need for
community is definitely felt more on this trail than other trails. Once
you choose solitude on this trail, you are solo for a while. I choose
solitude because it is how I need to hike the long trails. Every choice
involves a sacrifice.

Today, I also saw two friends from the hiking community I have known
for years. Jim and Ginny Owen are on their second CDT thru-hike. We
passed each other just outside the Wind River Range. The five us talked for
well over an hour. Our talking about the places we've seen and places
we hope to yet see on the trail made for some animated discussion.

As I camp solo tonight at the start of the Winds, I think of why I do
these long hikes. They are done in part because of places such as the
Winds. Magical places that can only be seen on foot. Places that require
going in many miles to been seen at all. I go on these journeys because
I love the passion that like minded people can share for nature. I go
on these journeys because of the journey itself. How an average person
can take a pack and walk from one end of this country to another.
The decision to go on these journeys involve some sacrifices at times.
As I think of why I go on these journeys, I realize that the sacrifices
are worth the price. The price is not for something I want to do…but
for something I have to do at this point in my life. To again spend
months immersed in nature. To again see new mountains every day. To again
become excited about what is over the horizon. To again become excited
about the journey itself.

Paul "Mags" Magnanti
The true harvest of my life is intangible.... a little stardust 
caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched

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