|Carmanah Point Lighthouse|
You need to go back to the beginning.. the beginning of the trip (not my life, fortunately).
Tension. Awkwardness. Puppy dog eyes. It’s inevitable when you travel with an ex-boyfriend who is still in love with you. Resisting the urge to pat him on the head, I shifted slightly to gaze at the moss-laden trees, rocks, other hikers, anywhere but him. It was going to be a long seven days. Most of me exulted in finally being on West Coast Trail, a trail I’d be preparing for and reading about for months, but I lamented my present company. Nothing untoward had been said, we were getting along fine, but I felt irritated by the glimmer of hope in my ex’s eyes.
As I watched wind and rain lash the forest and crunched on a granola bar, I gave myself a silent pep talk. “You’ve got this. You can do this. It won’t be so bad. He can’t smother you if you keep the walls up.” I didn’t need encouragement to continue hiking; I needed encouragement to stick with the group and not run screaming down the trail.
Me: You have your own!
Ex: No, I don’t.
Me: I packed you a whole bag of food! Where is it?
Ex: It’s not here.
|West Coast Trail|
Thanks to buddy’s incorrect assumption on how much food two hikers need for a week, we were now obliged to make do on half rations. Not ideal when one person is hypoglycemic with a tendency to get viciously hangry, but we managed. All we had to do was make it 45 kilometres to Chez Monique’s, an oasis for hungry travellers. There, we would get a burger and beer, raid the give & take box, and stock up on snacks. Turning back was not an option after all the preparation that had gone into the trip (though I admit on any other trail, we would have turned back).
In a strange but wonderful twist of fate, a woman came to our fire that night seeking to offload extra food. We ate our new friend’s leftovers the next two suppers and made it to kilometre-marker 45 in good spirits with all body parts intact. The awkwardness, which had transformed into resentment, melted away after the first bite of a juicy cheeseburger. I didn’t exactly forgive my ex for his stupidity, but let him know I didn’t hate him.
Thirty kilometres later, the trip was done and I felt relieved. He could go back to the city life he preferred and I could return to backpacking without babysitting (or threatening to eat someone). Being prepared takes the angst away and makes for a much more enjoyable trip!
Has a hiking buddy ever put you in a potentially dangerous situation? How did you cope with it?