I spent the day exploring vigilante trails. I don't want to reveal where these trails are, so I won't say too much about them here. It's great fun to have new trails to hike though! Especially trails that not too many people know about. I detest hiking in crowds.
When I run into people on the trail it really alters my experience. Sometimes it's okay, but often I catch myself running my conversation with them through my head over and over and then I lose touch with nature.
If I can hike all day without seeing another person I can slip my cultural collar a bit. The mountains soothe me, society riles me. I have PTSD, hiking alone with my dog is my therapy.
Sometimes I hike with men but issues always come up, most of them unspoken. Many men think they have to be a know it all and they have to do all the talking. I tolerate that during a hike, but I secretly wish was hiking alone or hiking with a woman. I feel sorry for men who think they are expected to know everything, sexism hurts everyone.
I don't hate men, but I enjoy the freedom of not having one around when I am hiking. I had a man that I really enjoyed hiking with for a while, he was polite and kind and gentle. I felt so safe when I was with him, I even loved him. But that ended when he started expecting sex and then getting upset and feeling entitled when that did not happen. Then he started getting jealous of another men I hiked with while he hiked with other women all the time. He started sending me angry emails in the wee hours of the morning accusing me of all sorts of things. WTF? Dude, you don't own me.
There is another man that I hike with from time to time. He has never hit on me and has never given any indication that he will ever start hitting on me. Hopefully he will never start hitting on me. I don't hike with him very often because I fear that he will take it as a sign that I want more than a hiking partner.
It's starting to get cold, but the weather is nice and dry so I was able to stop and stay warm with my down jacket on. In the rain I don't dare bring my down and am stuck with two bulky fleece layers that are not as warm as my one down jacket.
I had my lunch at noon. My lunch was a hot meal and a hot tea. I've got a lot of backpacking food left over that I had prepared for the PCT but never got to use, so I will be eating a lot of hot lunches on the trail this winter. After lunch I explored for as long as I could. I did not really want to hike in the dark, so I turned back at about 2:30.
This hike wiped me out so I had to take a second tea break on the way back even though I knew it meant I would probably be hiking out in the dark. But I was fast, I made it out in record time. It helped that I was not hunting mushrooms. I saw some Matsutake but I did not pick it since I already have a ton of it from my last trip to the Kitsap Peninsula.