Tuesday, January 28, 2014

146. Trail Treasures

After a certain amount of time, hikers' eyes adjust to the organized chaos of the natural world. Even thought it's a riot of color and ostensible randomness, somehow we get used to it. Any slight deviation is immediately recognizable, our eyes like laser beams for any tiny sparkle in our path.

It's like finding a diamond in the rough, except that it's trash! Fun trash! You'd think we were finding gold in the Yukon based on our disproportionate level of excitement about little bits of human refuse. It's usually "micro-trash" like accidentally dropped bits of granola bar wrappers, an empty ziploc bag, or if you're lucky, an entire sandal. Don't get me wrong, the AT isn't covered in garbage, it's just that with the amount of people (day hikers, weekend hikers, fabulous raccoons with a penchant for pizzazz), every once in a while things gets dropped or fall out of packs without being noticed.

You may or may not know this, but once you become a long-distance hiker, you are bestowed sacred super powers that must be used to extend the longevity and ecological health of the trail. One of the super powers is the development of x-ray eyeballs that can spot long-forgotten garbage from 15 feet away. ISN'T THAT EXCITING!? It's only a matter of time before there is a long-distance hiker graphic novel, where hikers are kind of like the X-Men, except smellier, and their super powers are things like "Can dig a perfect Cat Hole" and "Can eat absolutely all of the things."

Sometimes we get lucky and find things that don't just add to our ziploc baggie of "things to carry around for weeks because I keep forgetting to throw it out when I'm in a town." Sometimes we find TREASURE. One time we found a bottle of Dave's Insanity Hot Sauce. And one time Dumptruck found a button in the middle of the trail. A spectacular button:

Those eyes. Like windows to the soul of kittens. Look at that face! So perfectly pathetic! It was like it was just waiting there on the trail, wishing someone would find it. Dumptruck carried it proudly displayed on his pack for days before we found its original owner, who said that he could keep it. 

Pirates, X-Marks-The-Spot is for gold and gems. For hikers, X-Marks-The-Spot is for keeping the trail healthy and clean. Leave No Trace! LNT! And if you're lucky, sometimes you find real treasure.

One time I found a penny!

Clever Girl


  1. I do not consider myself superstitious but still get plenty excited when I find a penny.

  2. I find that I automatically see campsite potential wherever I am hiking. oh here's a spot...that wouldn't work...etc.