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[pct-l] Horse thru riders

Over the last month on the trail, I have found myself wondering many times
what it must have been like for Ben York, when he rode the PCT.  I choose
Ben as kind of a generic thrurider because there was a mention of him in
the last PCTA Communicator, which I glanced at but really did not read
before I left(I do not know him or really anything about him).  I feel a
grat deal of curiosity , not antipathy, toward the riders experience.  I
feel sure that in some ways having a horse to cop with must make the
experience a more difficult one.  Developing a relationship with an animal,
being dependent on it and caring for it at the same time for such a long
period, is an unusual opportunity.  Over and over questions would come up -
how much water would they carry for the horse, what would they do when they
got here, how far would they go????  At the same time I separate his
experience from that of a packer, and from the damage that lots of horses
do to a trail.

I had the unusually experience today of going to the grocery store to pick
up a few things and having 3 total strangers start up conversations with me
in the space of 10 minutes.  (No, I was not dressed like a store
employee!).  I think that being on the trail for a while makes us somehow
more OPEN to others experience, and that although this openness is a very
subtle thing, it is picked up quickly even by total strangers.  

Having now had some real trail magic experiences(I did not write about the
most compelling experince to Karen; it almost felt too subtle  and special
to write to the list  - I did not trust myself and my writing skills enough
to convey what happened).   At first I began to conceive that the
vulnerability, the dedication to a dream, and the committment of the
thruhiker, as well as the lack of opportunities to help people in such a
clear way, were some of the contributing factors to "trail magic" (I would
prefer another name).  Listening to the bear and horse threads, and having
the grocery store experience today, I know that it goes much deeper.

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