I had a 23 pound pack on, just for the weight. The weight was 90% rusted towing chain. I’m putting the finishing touches on preparing for a week of backpacking in Baxter State Park here in Maine in two weeks.
Transient came by for a brief overnight stay on his way to Halifax, Nova Scotia. I had maybe 6 encounters with Transient in 2010 in California, Oregon, and Washington while we were both thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. We camped together a couple of times and reached the California/Oregon border at the exact same day and time. The two of us had never hiked together until today. Transient talked non-stop the whole three hours of the walk. I loved it. He talked about people and events that happened on the PCT that I didn’t experience or that I had already erased from my memory. For example, I did not know that Stick had spent 9 years in prison in California.
I followed Transient’s southbound 2012 Continental Divide Trail Journal. Transient had a rough time with the June snowpack in Glacier National Park. His journal persuaded me to hike northbound.
Transient is just one week from returning from a month long solo hike on one of the Caminos, starting in France, and ending at the Atlantic in Spain. He is right now in total hiker shape, and I had to push myself to keep up with him. He still harbors thru hiker habits. Transient was leaned out enough that his shorts bunched around his waist. He needed a belt. I graciously declined Transient’s offer of a half an unrefrigerated egg salad sandwich that he dug out of his pack.
Transient came up with an great idea that I adopted on my own CDT thru-hike.
He had made up a number of “Trail Angel” patches that carried with him and gave to individuals that assisted with rides when he hitchhiked, with rooms offered, and with instances of unexpected grace that came his way when he needed it. He sent me a few dozen that I also handed out on my own 2013 hike.
Here’s the only photo of Transient and me that I have.
It was taken today by a hiker up near the top of Mt. Megunticook at 1400 feet. It’s the best I could get, given the mottled sunlight and shade. Transient was irritated that I was taller than he was so I slunk down a bit. I think it conveys the reality of our lives, that we have blended in with the open trail.