The rain stops once I’m ready to pack up. The sun paints pinks and purples on passing clouds.
At the top of the ridge, I have enough signal to get the forecast. Possible thunderstorms and high chance of rain. What would that be like out here?
|What does "possible thunderstorms" even mean?|
I call Still Waters. “Does it make me a quitter if I get a ride to my car?”
I hear the tone in her voice change. She has this way of sighing when I talk about being a quitter.
“Just make smart decisions,” she says.
I hike the mile back down to the highway. I will get a ride to my car.
When I get to the road, the idea of hitchhiking fills me with trepidation. Which is werid because I've never had problems getting a ride. But it is right after the election and the world seems less safe- so many hate crimes exploding in the news. Of course nothing has really changed— there are still the same people everywhere and I am still the same person. A person who can get rides from strangers.
|I take a selfie just to double check. You'd pick me up, right? Is the short hair is a little suspicious? Maybe the “Junior Ranger” patch on my backpack wasn’t such a good idea.|
A car passes. There is so little traffic that I can sit down between cars. Another car. Another.
The thing about hitchhiking is that you just have to wait for the right person to stop. You don’t even have to believe in the universal kindness of humanity. There just has to be one person. Turns out she isn’t even going my way. She passes by and I see the “Arizona Trail Association” sticker on her car and she stops and turns around.
“This isn’t a good place to be," she says. "Hop in and I’ll take you down the road where you can wait. If you can’t find a ride by the end of the day, call me and I’ll take you to your car.”
The ladies at the gas station where I get dropped off tell me I can’t hitchhike here- “It’s too dangerous.” Then an older guy stops in (who they know) and the ladies arrange for him to take me to the Roosevelt Lake Resort.
I have no idea why this will help me get to where I’m going. But they insist. I trust them.
Families are sitting around the lodge having breakfast when I walk in. There is a fire in the fireplace and the smell of hot coffee and bacon. The manager tells me that he is heading into town in an hour with his son and they are going right past my car! Would I like a ride to my car with them?
How could things have worked out so well?!?! I can hardly believe it but I am to my car in such a short time and on the road and driving all the way back home.
The next day I sit inside drinking hot cocoa and look out the window as the most intense hail storm I’ve ever seen moves through. It’s so loud and covers the streets with an icy mess. Is this happening down on the Arizona Trail? I don’t know but when I check the weather I see there is lightening strikes out there and I am glad I am not out in it and I am so very thankful for all the good people who helped me along my way. Those three people that gave me rides (three!) restored my faith in human kindness once again. It warms my heart to know there are still good people out there who will help out a stranger.
Maybe I needed to know that more than anything else right now.