As I came back into camp at Diamond Lake I saw a girl setting up her tent in the space next to me. Based on her set up I was guessing she was a Pacific Crest Trail hiker. I could tell that she was hurting and most likely dehydrated. When she asked where the registration kiosk was I knew that if I asked her to take one single more step she would cry and/or collapse. When I told her that the space she was setting up in was a reserved space, but I offered to share my super large site with her she seemed relieved. As she gathered her stuff up I asked if she wanted dinner. Of course she said yes!
Over and after dinner we exchanged stories. Molly is a super cool girl, who like myself, was doing something that many people think that she is crazy to do. I told her that we were two turtles just different sized shells. Both are mentally taxing. Both are spiritually taxing. All are about perspective. She laughed and said I was right.
As we spoke, she took her shoes off and I had a peek at her feet. They were a wreck . Having packed enough “people meds” for “just in case” I fished through the box looking for the right combo of goop and wraps to fix her feet. Now, I have some odd things in my “people meds” box. I have antibiotic cream that farmers use on cow udders and vet wrap among the cacophony of other meds. When I told her that the udder cream works wonders she was doubious, but desperate. She gooped and wrapped her feet and casually mentioned that the next time she did something like this she would wear higher socks.
“What do you mean?” I asked. She said that her socks only went up a little past her ankles. I went to the car and rummaged through my cold weather bag and found my biggest pair of SmartWool socks I had. I handed them across the table to her.
“Are you sure?”
“Absolutely, I can’t have you banged up. Besides, they are wool they will stretch.” I said as she started to gently pass them over her bandages. “See, told you!” I said with a big grin on my face as they slid onto her feet perfectly. She seemed stunned that someone was completely willing to give her, a stranger, socks. Let alone, kind of expensive socks.
“This is amazing, thank you.” I shrugged. I didn’t think it was that amazing. I saw someone in need it is what my Dad would have done.
In the morning I made Glutino gluten free pancakes, which were awesome, and coffee while she unwrapped her feet.
“Wow, that is magic cream!” she declared. I grabbed a plastic baggie put the tub in it and handed it to her. She started to protest. I looked her her with the “just take it” face. I iterated she had holes in her feet and hundreds of miles in front of her. I had multiple states and lots of feed stores I could stop at to get more. I won the argument.
As we progressed through breakfast I discovered she had no gloves. My jaw went slack. What do you mean you have no gloves?! Well, her ex-boyfriend talked into dumping them at Mazama Campground. I pointed out that she still had to do Three Sisters. She sheepishly admitted that that was a dumb decision. I went to the car and pulled out my favorite pair of pink and orange gloves.
“Here, take these.” I said practically shoving them in her face. “The only thing I ask is that you mail them back to me when you are done. They are my favorites.” This time she took them without protest.
My heart went out to this girl. She was prepared and some dumb boy influenced her to make a stupid decision. I was glad that he was the ex boyfriend whoever he was. After breakfast, I drove her the 3 miles to the trailhead. We piled out of the car. I was sad to see her go. As she walked down the trail I said a silent prayer for her safety. As I went south and she went north I haven’t stopped wondering about Molly. I hope that she is warm, hydrated, safe, and accomplishing everything she wanted to with her journey. She deserves it.