"So what's the secret?" Gables asked as we hiked together toward Trail Pass. "Is it just to keep doing it?"
I could have said a lot of things, most of them being that I wasn't THAT much older than her. In fact, I wasn't even old enough to be her mom, unless I was a very young teen mom.
But it wasn't worth getting offended. I'm sure I looked old on trail. For the past one hundred miles I had slept perhaps 2 to 3 hours a night. I had been afflicted by one of the worst colds in memory (I used to never get sick before this year. When I get home, I need to overhaul my diet) And on this hike, I left it all out there every day.
So even though I resented being placed in the sage granny role, all I could say was, "just keep doing it. Even if it's hard." Soon she stopped to filter water, I got ahead, and will probably never hear from her again. That's what happens on the trail.
I'm in Mammoth and a few thru hikers are coming into town. They are bringing tales of swimming across swollen creeks and of avalanches. The women look tired but radiant. It does make me miss being young. I was too focused on working, even though I had fun and unusual jobs. I never would have taken five months off to hike. Maybe I should have.