This is a blog article I wrote in June, but never posted.
One of the lofty reasons I set out on this extensive solo backpacking trip was, of course, to get closer to nature. Well after only two months it seems that I have taken it a bit further – I have become the wild.
Let me explain… After a five day 70+ mile backpacking trip through Yosemite I approached the final stretch of the tip – the easy-going paved Mist Trail in the Valley, stopping to refill my water bottle one last time I was approached by a couple young girls – UC Davis Students on exchange from South Korea, as I would later find out.
“Can we take a picture with you?” they ask. Weird, I think to myself but I respond affirmatively. Before I know it their entire school group was swapping in and out taking pictures with me like I’m some kind of attraction. Why are they so interested in me? I wonder. I look pretty shabby, tattered and worn from the trek, plus I probably didn’t smell my best.
Then suddenly a flash of clarity… I am as close as they will get to the wilderness experience… taking a picture with me is like taking a picture with a deranged mountain hermit, or… Bigfoot himself. Suddenly I felt uncomfortable, as an oddity, an object to gawk at, but soon enough they had their fill and went back to taking pictures of the fat overfed chipmunks that linger by the trailside benches and under the signs that say, “Please to not feed the wildlife.” “Look!” one shrieks, “it took it right from my hand…”