The space between

I’m off trail at the moment (im)patiently waiting to head southbound. It is a funny thing to be inbetween on a multi-month adventure. I have been doing a lot of nothing. I hope this means I’m becoming more creative and better at problem-solving rather than just slowly losing my cardiovascular fitness.

Dogs are great at doing nothing. Here’s my parents’ golden enjoying some Montana spring hail.

Before I started this venture, I was talking with a very thoughtful friend about whether or not to document my hike via social media. She asked me, “do you plan to be striving or just being?” A thru-hike is in some ways very much about striving. There’s a specific goal and you work at it every day, sometimes in significant discomfort (see various foot pain in my case). Yet I realized to my surprise that my answer was being. I don’t plan for my hike to launch me into Instagram influencerdom (though I do like free stuff), and I don’t have grand plans to illustrate every day or learn a language (though I thought about trying to do both these things) and I don’t expect that hiking for five months will give me all the answers. I’m just being. Real life, in contrast, seems to happen at hyperspeed, calendered to the brim and peppered with smartphone notifications. I’m not fully offline unless I’m asleep.

My dad recently bought a little piece of land in a small town in Southeast Alaska. To reach the property you have to walk about a quarter mile across an intertidal mud flat.

The view across the mud flats.

Tall rubber boots are required at low tide, at high tide you’ll need a boat or time to walk the long way. It’s off the grid, there’s propane for a fridge and a cook stove, a woodstove for heat, and solar for a little electricity. By temporarily plugging in a booster, you can get a cell signal as long as you stand within 6 inches of the device. It’s one step from wilderness, connectivity on your own terms. As a place to just be, it was perfect.

May lupine on a little hike.

These two gave me the adventure gene. Also, pretty happy with this thrift store off-trail outfit. It’s nice to be in cotton for a minute.

From there I decided to head home to Montana. This is where I spent from 7th through 10th grade (and many summers and Christmases thereafter). Twelve to 16 were tough years, you know? Yeesh. That teenage girl is long gone, but being here has a way of bringing those dusty memories right to the surface.

Dog in heaven. I didn’t swim. See: melting snow directly above lake.

Back on trail June 20, friends. I hope you are making a little space for some nothing doing.