Total Miles: 654.3
Honest question: What day is it? Away from the routines and patterns of home, it’s remarkable how something so familiar vanishes so quickly, each day seamlessly bleeding into the next, only the rising and setting of the sun demarcating one day from the next.
Blissfully ignorant of the calendar as I may be, my mind is still so often occupied with numbers. Seeing them everywhere and in everything is a curse of the engineer’s mind, and the rabbit holes of thought it leads to.
The simple matter of hiking five easy miles becomes a mental exercise in dead reckoning, a borderline compulsive obsession with the relationship between time and distance. Numbers multiply, divide, expand, and contract with every passing minute, adjusted again and recalculated to account for gradient, footing, and a subjective sense of speed. A symphony of numbers streaming barely inside the bounds of consciousness, all designed to answer one simple question today: exactly how quickly is the gap closing between me and the giant plate of breakfast I’ve been drawing in my mind?
Mental gymnastics with time and distance is interrupted by a thought: didn’t daylight saving time end today? Then it’s an internal refresher on the origins and implications of daylight saving. Then it’s on to planetary movements, the tilt of the earth’s axis and the shape of its orbit, its aphelion and perihelion that give rise to the need for daylight saving in the first place. Zooming all the way out, the mind I can’t seem to quiet thumbs through the pages of Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, marveling at the romance of a universe we scarcely understand.
And as quickly as a mind spirals out of control of its own device, it snaps back to the world outside itself when my eyes notice a sign announcing the Gabe Zimmerman trailhead and it clicks: this is what we’ve been walking to. This is where a trail angel will be arriving shortly to whisk us away to nearby Tucson. To a day of rest. To that breakfast that started all of this mental wandering. I wonder how long it will take to drive there...