I have just purchased a chocolate ice-cream cone. I can see the chocolate sprinkles in vivid detail.
I am about to take my first lick.
I hear a voice.
“Acorn. Wake up. It’s time.”
The bubble bursts.
It’s 3am and my group of fellow crazy hikers has decided to attempt a 31 mile hike to celebrate a hiker’s 31st birthday.
I’m not sure why I agreed to do this.
I zip open my sleeping bag and the cold invades.
The long trek begins. I am soon night-hiking with 2 other hikers and a dog. We turn our headlights off and hike under the light of a full moon. We pick out constellations, watch satellites streak across the sky, and hoot at owls.
A few hours later, we arrive at a mountaintop. The sun is rising and it’s one of the most beautiful moments of my life. We linger to eat snacks and the dog whimpers. He wants to keep hiking.
The 31 miler glides past. We push beyond mountains, streams, and valleys full of white flowers.
I feel strong until the sunset.
I find myself climbing a mountain in the rain, at night, alone. It’s a very difficult 4 miles and I can’t seem to understand why I’m still doing this. My body pushes back and my leg muscles start to ache.
Finally, I find myself at mile 31, around midnight, and I can’t find the other 3 hikers who were supposed to meet here. I start to get confused and finally decide to hang my hammock between 2 trees.
The wind whips my hammock all night and the rain bounces off my tarp. I am lucky to be warm, but I am barely able to sleep that night.
31 mile days.
I wouldn’t recommend it.