So at this point in time, Breeze and I have been hiking together for over 2 months and have hiked more than 1000 miles together. If you think you know someone, I dare you to spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for more than 8 weeks. For the majority of our time, we have been no more than 15 feet apart, and until Green Flash joined the hiking family, Breeze and I only had each other for company. Over the miles, I discovered some perks:
1. We share everything.
Occasionally this backfires when I don't want to share my Haribo Happy Cola gummies, but typically Breeze has WAY better snack food than me and I get the tastier half of this deal. He gets hot cooked dinners and snack bars from me though. And once we run out of food by day 4, this usually seems a more appealing trade than day 1!
2. Lighter pack
Once we decided to hike together, we were able to cut any duplicate items from our packs. And while this, in theory, makes us move faster and lighter, we have actually started hiking slower. Breeze acquired a fishing pole, and I carry butter and foil for cooking his catch. I want to make a bow drill set to make friction fire. We take long breaks, sleep in late, and aim to camp in idyllic spots with campfires and scenery. We might be set up to hike fast, but we aren't in any rush to!
3. Split the chores
In the past, I have always resented hiking with couples because they always get camp set up SO DAMN FAST. It is not fair. But now, I am 50% of a highly efficient hiking machine. Or more like 38%. Breeze runs the efficiency part. Mostly I get in the way and slow things down. But after 2 months I can almost do most things correctly, so we sail a fairly smooth ship.
4. Someone to share the trail with
Okay this is the sappy one. But honestly, I've done A LOT of things alone, and I don't mind it for the most part; I'd rather go alone than not go at all. Yet being able to share these experiences with someone is really fantastic. The mundane becomes hysterical, the misery becomes entertainment, and the fun is multiplied. He has carried me when I have been down and out, and I have literally pulled him up hills when he gets tired. Hiking together has turned this hike into a stroll through the woods with good friends. I'm glad I get to end my hike this way, it seems like a fitting end to a great part of my life.
The theme that my hike is ending must be getting old so soon before the end. I still have hundreds of miles and weeks to go, but in the grand scheme of my Triple Crown, I am nearing the end. I only have about 500 of nearly 7,000 miles to go. I will turn north from here and work my way away from the Idaho border and cross my final state. yay!