Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Days Thirty-Three through Forty-Seven

Historical Marker, Galveston, Galveston County, Day 33
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Once again, it's that time to crunch the numbers. As seems to be the pattern for this trek, I've taken a lot of breaks, but I've also covered a lot of ground, at least it seems to me. As always, I write the day and the end point for that day, followed by an estimate of how many miles I walked. Let's take a look:
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Water Tower, Galveston, Galveston County, Day 33
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Day 33: Port Bolivar, about 9 miles (plus 2.7 on a ferry)
Day 34: Crystal Beach, about 11 miles
Day 35: Somewhere along McFadden National Wildlife Refuge, let's say about 32 miles
Day 36: Sabine Pass, about 30 miles (I first went to the very edge of the coastline, then had to backtrack due to the lack of a road; I'm guessing I added 10 miles.)
Day 37: A zero day in Groves (near Port Arthur)
Day 38: Port Arthur, about 14 miles
Day 39: Groves, about 11 miles (I backtracked to the post office, adding 6 miles.)
Day 40: Orange, about 18 miles (an extra mile to get to my couchsurfing hosts' place.)
Days 41-43: A few zero days in Orange
Day 44: Just shy of Hartburg, about 12 miles
Day 45: Somewhere on Hwy 87, about 15 miles
Day 46: Bleakwood, about 15 miles
Day 47: Newton, about 15 miles
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These two weeks seem much much longer. I can't believe I saw my cousin Cat and her aunt and uncle back in Houston, nor my parents in Sabine Pass, nor (and more recently) my couchsurfing hosts in Orange. Time bends in very peculiar ways, and my mind has a very hard time wrapping itself around its folds.
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Here are a few journaling thoughts to give you an idea of what's going on in my head (And sorry for not putting days on earlier journal entries. I'm experimenting with what works and what doesn't. This is all a work in progress.) . Some thoughts will stand in direct conflict with others. Please keep in mind that these are all snippets from different days, different events, different moods, and different emotions.
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Ferry Crossing Sunset, Galveston, Galveston County, Day 33
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* Day 33: The sunset is perfect today. The clouds are smudged whites and grays. The birds at the ferry landing are silhouetted by the sun's light. It is a spectacular ending to an uneventful day of wandering. I am lucky, lucky, lucky.
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Lighthouse, Port Bolivar, Galveston County, Day 34
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* Day 34: There are so many elements to this night. The ocean waves, the moon mostly full, the fire ling, the hard wet sand, the strong winds. And me. I have to be in this scene to know it, to hear the waves and feel the sand, to build the fire and feed its flames. I am alone but not entirely lonely, my senses responding to my surroundings and filling me with moments of now.
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I Buy Houses, Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston County, Day 35
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Washed Away, Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston County, Day 35
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Pelicans, Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston County, Day 35
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Pelicans in Flight, Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston County, Day 35
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Beach Buggy, Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston County, Day 35
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Private Property, Jefferson County, Day 36
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* Day 38: The rain doesn't bother me as much as you'd think, but it cripples whatever dignity I have as a traveler. You should have seen the motel manager/owner [in Port Arthur]. You'd have thought he was having both a heart attack and seizure by renting to me. I don't know how to diffuse the situation either. I tell the truth, but often the truth is too much for people to believe. The RV park assistant manager I spoke with earlier laughed when I said she might read about me in the local paper. I don't see this situation going away any time soon.
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Golden Triangle Veterans Memorial Park, Port Neches, Jefferson County, Day 40
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* Day 40: Once again, I am hesitant to leave a safe space. I'm enjoying having people to talk to, ways to entertain myself, distract myself. I'm also a little nervous again about the road and being alone. Will this ever become normal?
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* Day 43: I meant to take off but got bummed by the rain. It was really coming down. I asked my hosts if I could stay again, and (yes!) they accepted. I bought groceries and made homemade pizza (crust, too) for us. I definitely pushed the boundaries of hospitality, but I think it was ok in the end.
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[Side Note on Couchsurfing: Allison and Jayne were amazing hosts (pictures in previous post). They really helped me out, treated me well, and of course, gave me a space to crash. If everyone were like them, I think Couchsurfing would be much more popular.]
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Walk with God, Pine Grove, Newton County, Day 47
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Evacuation Route, Newton, Newton County, Day 47
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* Day 47: Why does hiking have to be so ? When I'm able to chat with people a bit, they open up to my project and ultimately me. It feels good to connect. I just don't know how full-time homeless people do it. It's the solitude that's worse than any panther scream or beach flashing. Yes, I can deal with it - I have to. But I did not expect it to be so crushing, a defeat to be lived over and over in the presence of those who could make it go away.
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[Note on Above Entry: This was the end of a good day. I had some nice conversations with people in a cafe, and all went over well. It stands in direct contrast to a interaction I had at a convenience store which still s in my mind. This entry is a reflection not on the people of Newton that I met but on my earlier encounter.]
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Crawfish, Newton, Newton County, Day 47
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And that's all from the edge! I really appreciate all the comments on this blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. They really cheer me up and keep me motivated to keep going. I laughed especially hard at the kinetic flashlight comment (see comments under The Scary Incident at the Beach). Be strong, be good, and do something you've always wanted to do.

Until next we meet...

3 comments:

Aunt Esther said...

I felt your emotions. I am with you.

Brandon said...

"I did not expect it to be so crushing, a defeat to be lived over and over in the presence of those who could make it go away."

Was it easier on the AT?

Karma said...

solitude is bitter sweet. i remember a hiker i met on the AT that did a solo CDT hike. his favorite and worst parts of his hike was solitude. granted he was hiking to reach a destination instead of exploration of a particular area or state (texas for example). during resupply stops in town, he often found him self talking to grocery baggers for an hour or more. it's something i've always wonder about, how one would stave off insanity upon such a long duration with only temporary social interaction or worse, a deserted island. i hope you fare well smatt, and keep writing. see you soon.