The nature of this "trail" is different from other long trails. The Hayduke isn't established and is more of a suggested route than an official path. My starting and ending points were of my own design, and I chose a number of alternates and deviations from the route outlined in the guidebook. And still, I thru-hiked it. That's the Hayduke.
I felt inspired in Dark Canyon, Coyote Gulch, and the Halls Creek Narrows. I was in awe as I crossed the Waterpocket Fold and traversed the upper reaches of Stephens Canyon. Defeated in Youngs Canyon; scared coming down off of Tarantula Mesa; exhilerated dropping into Round Valley Draw; and bored in Section 7. Always a little bit tired and a lotta bit hungry. I was satisfied by my own gluttony during a zero in Escalante. I was overwhelmed by gratitude as I accepted the endless generosity of river trips while I trekked along the banks of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. My heart embraced the full spectrum of emotions during my five week, 700 mile trip. I giggled and cried, shouted and cursed, rolled my eyes and sighed in disbelief. I was humbled by the resolve of my mind and the capacity of my body to endure throughout. And I learned even more about myself, especially the resilience and quality of my heart. Like Gramma says, I meet myself all over again with each long trail.
This trip was more fulfilling to my heart than my previous few. Probably because I chose to be here. Because I took my first steps with a wide open heart ready to be filled with the here and now. There was no distraction or longing for anything else. Perhaps life isn't about purpose and soulmates; perhaps it's about choices. Making a choice and embracing it, as Mckenzie said. And letting go of those choices that aren't ours to make.
The Hayduke has re-invigorated my sense of adventure and exploration, even in the face of a growing need for shared experience and community. There are only a handful of big trips left on my wishlist, and I find myself seeking a partner with whom to share those. Not necessarily a romantic partner. Just a fellow trekker who sees the world in a similar way. Someone who is strong, competent, and ambitious. Someone who pushes the limits of what they believe is possible and who feels inspired in adversity. Someone sure of themselves who isn’t afraid to challenge me and my ideas. Someone independent enough to go their own way, but someone similar enough that their way is more often than not also my own. And hey, if this badass unicorn also happens to be the next great love of my life, that's cool too. Now accepting applications. Position open until filled.