As I exited the post office I held up the duct-taped priority box high in the sky as if it were a trophy. I had just hiked 75 miles in two and a half days to pickup my resupply box before the post office closed for the three day Fourth of July weekend. My two thru hiker companions at the time, Marathon and Fat Dog, were both experienced ultra distance runners, and they weren't phased by my accomplishment; or maybe they were just fixated on filling their stomachs with food, free food.
My weariness began to dissolve as the warm, Epsom-salt-infused water penetrated through several layers of dirt, sweat, and blisters. I had descended six thousand feet into a sandy desolate valley where a small community sits nestled against the northern hills. A retired couple lives just a few minutes off trail and they invite hikers into their shaded and fenced in backyard. Sitting in a luxurious chair (any chair) with my feet submerged comforted me physically, but I realized something deeper hung in the midst of the moment.