Trouble in Paradise

8 May

Everyone on the Trail wants to know. So I might as well tell you, too: Bo and I aren’t hiking together anymore.

It wasn’t a romantic breakup; it was way more intimate: it was a hiking partner breakup. For 34 days, we shared – almost without exception – every single minute, every single meal, every single mile. We shared food, water, fuel, my spoon, his knife.

We shared our hopes, dreams, ambitions, fears, and failures. I’ve heard about his mom, dad, sister, brother… and every one of his aunts and uncles. He’s chilled with my Dad and chatted with Aunt Leslie.

The end – 3 nights ago – was kind of messy and involved him packing up and hiking out into the dark and rain. 12 hours later, I headed out. I hiked a miserable 8 miles up a hill to a shelter. “I want to hike alone, I want to hike alone,” I told myself.

At the shelter, I laid down my piece of Tyvek, blew up my pad, and unstuffed my sleeping bag. And then I sat there in silence. Eventually I collected water and cooked dinner. And ate the Snickers bar that Bo would have never let me eat on the first night out of town.

And then – in search of my toothbrush -I flipped my pack upside down and dumped it out.

An orange and white fishing bobber fell out and rolled across the shelter floor.

We had found that bobber on our favorite day of the Trail – outside of Hampton, TN in a little swampy patch along Lake Wautaga. That night, Bo had so carefully bent the wire back in place around the yellow plastic base and etched “Bojangles” across the front. The next morning, he affixed it to the shoulder strap on his pack and joked about changing his name to “Bob Jangles” and told me about the fish he was going to catch with it.

I twirled the bobber in my fingers for a second before setting it down and reaching for my toothbrush.

Walking alone is not a new page or a new chapter. It’s a whole new book. And the heavens themselves are bawling, dumping truckloads of rain on everything in sight. I’ve been soaked for 3 days. The trail might as well be a stream bed. And I’m lonely.

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9 Responses to “Trouble in Paradise”

  1. katafrass May 8, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    Aww, hang in there chica! It’s tough splitting from a travel partner, but you’ll get through this!

  2. Dad May 9, 2013 at 6:30 am #

    Powerfully good. Ld

    Sent from my iPad, “Smartie”

  3. Hunter Young May 9, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    Lucie,
    We are still rooting for you here in SC. I know that you are lonely, but this is your trip and it will be what you make of it. You are one of the bravest people I’ve ever come in to contact with, and this is just further reassurance of that. The rain will soon end…

    • Lucie May 14, 2013 at 8:31 am #

      Awww, thank you so much Hunter and wife and Chase. It means a lot. I read this comment more than a few times in the last couple days, and it made me smile each time. I’m hitting the Trail again this morning andddddd… I think the sun might be shining ?!!!

  4. rexfordnicholson May 9, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    It’s a heart breaker. This spoiled experience can only be corrected by….. no it can’t be corrected, that’s the bitch. lived through, yes, I’m sick of living through… Lucy, on the lamb… on the lamb form what? normalicy? A p[artner is normal, a breakup in also, we can’t excape the bonds, only getr comfortable… I am not comfortable, I will get above and look down at things

  5. Jimmy May 10, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    Try and look at it positively – you get some “me time”, some peace and quiet, you get to experience the trail first hand through your own senses. The rain is good for the forest, without it, it wouldn’t be there. Most of all, you are not having to go to work every day, on the seemingly never-ending hamster wheel. Lots of people would prefer to do what you’re doing, rather than sitting in an office all day, so make the most of it and enjoy it! Also, think about how you met up with those travel partners, you can easily do it again. If you managed to go around the world on your own, you must be able to do the trail. You need to believe in yourself.

    • Lucie May 14, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

      Thanks for the encouragement, Jimmy! I got back on the Trail today and was struck the whole (measly) 12 miles by the fact that – holy cow – I didn’t have to go to work today – I am so incredibly freaking lucky. Life is, indeed, good :-). Thank you!

      – Lucie

      • Anonymous May 18, 2013 at 6:10 am #

        That’s the spirit! šŸ™‚

  6. AcornHikes May 14, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    Oh girl– I’m going thru the same feelings— I’ve been hiking with the same guy for about 3 weeks and would love to hike alone– It’s a very intimate, messy thing šŸ˜¦

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