August 27 - September 18
It was time to tackle Nevada.
In the morning I awoke by 5 AM as I instructed my faithful psyche to do. There is a brief period on awakening in the dark with the unknown road ahead that is hell to contend with. Thank heaven it seems to leave no scars. I tare away from my plush safe hotel womb and headed out into the brown Nevada road scar. A flag signal on the road said, "Lady, aren't you taking an awful chance?" Later others talked of murders on the Nevada stretch. It was a grueling re-entry into the road life alone. My water was too heavy. The golf cart sagged and I worried. The bag of flares from my army, fit nowhere, but I have a superstition that I must carry all gifts. My safety equipment may do me in yet!
A scary Indian in a battered car drove off the road and onto the service road to ask me to ride with him. He probably meant well, but it required self discipline to think so. I was tired, weary and dispirited.
An then I heard a friendly European (German) accent, "Hello!" I looked and saw an engaging smile, a boyish young man on a bike, a disarming miracle from heaven here a million miles from nowhere. And unlike all the other bikers who grunt "hi" and churn by, he was actually stopped! Heaven couldn't have sent a more welcome gift, and I actually felt nervous that I'd overdo my enthusiasm in my momentary desperate need for companionship. (Donners,  "Are you the men from California or from heaven?”
He was tired, having crossed the desert from Salt Lake City during the night so we pulled sweating and panting up the pass and camped over a side hill in a sandy stream bed while Pilot Peak loomed over us. He talked of families and Germany and bike adventures. He talked of liking old fashioned domestic women and disapproving of modern independent women. I talked of my being a modern independent woman and hating the role he so admired. Yet his manner was so engaging that I felt my self nearly blurting, "Would you marry my daughter please!" and frankly I now wish I had! I kidded him about his German cleanliness and he won me completely as he tactfully ate my evaporated milk and wheat germ with only a somewhat restrained gusto. His English was excellent, proper and melodic (having learned it from grammar textbooks). He struggled to describe German character saying, "Germans try to keep not a dirty mind" and then found the phrase he'd been searching for, "try to keep a clear conscience."
The German student said he'd heard of a man who biked across the U.S. and got to the Brooklyn Bridge and threw his bike over the rail. I recounted the story of the old lady in the Mormon hand cart company who pulled her cart all the way to Salt Lake City only to promptly throw it over a cliff. We both laughed heartily at the stories. Would I heave my golf cart off the Golden Gate Bridge?
In the evening the bats seemed amazed to find people in their stream bed flyway and repeatedly dive bombed our heads. (We were in a line.) At one point the bat brushed my face and I clearly heard the wing beats. In the morning we said goodbye and the pleasant interlude was over.
We had some important things in common that felt like a secret bond that no one else would understand. We both were traveling alone, a long long way. We both had tried to find someone to share our trips but had  found no one interested. We both were doing something that lots of the homefolks and relatives thought a bit daffy. And above all, we both loved it!
As soon as I emerged onto the highway a car pulled over and said that someone had been calling on the CB all morning searching for me. A few hours later a camper circled and stopped next to me. I looked up and saw the faces of some old old friends, the Thompsons, who had moved to California years ago. They had seen the AP picture of me while on their Colorado vacation and had kept a lookout for me on their way home.
Seeing the Thompsons was fun and important. Old high school friends change over the years. I'm afraid I was even more sweet and meek than I like to remember. George's brother, Billy, my classmate, couldn't even remember me. DeEtt said with emphasis, “you would be the last person from high school that I'd imagine doing this.”
George, best man at our wedding said, “Poor Howard. He thought he was marrying someone sweet and shy and now look!”
DeEtt on the other hand, in high school was sharply aggressive and seemed to scorn feminine trappings. She's now become a Mormon with all the Mormon subservience to George. “George, will you let me walk 2 weeks with Barbara?"
George, “I think, Honey, you'd better come home with us.”
“OK, George.” The lion will become as a lamb and the lamb as a lion...
Nevada, like going against the grain of washboard, one mountain range after another, 4 miles up, 3 miles down, 10 miles of plain, repeat, repeat, repeat. The mountains are dotted with scrub cedar, the plains with brown  scrub sage. Yesterday I saw one single broad leaf tree, small, but the way it swayed softly in the breeze was a beauty to me. The cedars whir nicely but never rustle.
The notion of camping over a tiny hill near I-80 appeals, but I can't lift my cart load over the ubiquitous freeway fence. (Where are you, nice German student?) I tried an exit but found every spot deep in human toilet paper, a lesson learned, don't use the exits! I also found a drugged hippy in a horrendously junky beetle VW who talked with a glazed intensity. “I might walk from Salt Lake to the east coast because I'm out of money. I'm looking for the social center of the US, but it’s hard to explain it. I found San Francisco too gay.” Whew! His desperation and bizarre thought processes made me wary and I wished him luck in "whatever" and he me. I left in a hasty departure. No thank you, camping with him (am I too uptight?) but I am VERY regretful I didn't offer him food. Kindness was sorely needed there.
I have no mirror. My nose peeled easily yesterday to bare raw flesh and bled profusely. What does it look like today? It feels pitted and scabby and begging to be peeled again.
Walked on and found a thick (tiny) scrub cedar forest on the freeway side of the fence and camped out of sight yet 60 feet from the traffic. Although I am not ever afraid, I have a tense sense of being on guard. It lessons after dark when darkness tucks me away safely. I'm worried about the weight on the golf cart. The water and food I need even for 2 dry days is too much for the wheel and axle system. 
Everyone is obsessed with my keeping warm, but that's NEVER a problem. I sweated all last night trying to elude the damn ants. What should have been a perfect spot was alive with ants, all solid black, solid pale orange, or one segment black and two dark red, the black either front or rear. Thank heaven they didn't bite, unless caught between clothes and skin tightly, but otherwise they tormented me incessantly. I had thought at night fall they'd lay off but no! What were they looking for? Their explorations seemed to come in waves. I awoke to feel them in my hair, over my face, in my ears, down my neck, on my legs (deep in the sleeping bag) in my back and even in my underpants. Ahhh well... if it won't kill me, I'll not get genuinely alarmed, only aggravated! Coyotes musical last night.
The money situation has been a nagging worry, a relentless pressure. I'm caught by having to slow my journey to keep the Donner schedule, but this is more expensive in food and lodging. I can camp free in the wilderness but I run out of food and water, or I can stay in towns near grocery food, but the campgrounds cost a fortune (and are carpeted with dog shit). 
I can see clearly in the mirror that my top lip has become longer (nose to lip) and my top lip is thinner (lip part). Why?
I can scan my face in the mirror again and like what I see. Tan, peeling nose, lots of happy wrinkles and creases, joyful deeply alive eyes and an infinite kaleidoscope of changing expressions as my thoughts change. I like my thin body. It's all me and I'm comfortable in it. I like my hands, long, strong, graceful with dirty nails and angular beauty. I have my very own style it seems. Hey! Why this exhilaration?
I have a dream that all the people I've loved on this trip will not fade in isolation but will come together in mutual celebration, for sure it will happen in the after life. Could they all be part of a book in this life? Would they like each other? Appreciate each other dispite wextreme disparities? Could they bridge their differences?
I almost dare now to let go of some of my ever present tension about this trip. After the Ruby Mountains, I-80 looks al most possible from there on. I look faar ahead and wonder what comes after the trip. Will I ever be happy again? What will I do? Cliff at home is sick again. This gives me feelings of alarm and guilt.
Beyond Pilot PeaK the Donner Party followed a western course with the repeating monotonous pattern of up, over, down and across the desert plains as each mountain range was scaled and crossed. The pattern was interrupted abruptly when they came face to face with a mountain range much higher than the rest, with craggy snow covered peaks and no passes in sight? At that point they were following the feeble wagon trace of a lost party that had gone before them. It was a clear case of the blind leading the blind.  The lost party, faced with a blank mountainous wall could have turned north or south in search of a pass. Had they turned north, they could have shortly found a pass and continued their westward course with only a minor jog interrupting their journey. Subsequent routes to the west would take a northern route. But, unfortunately the lost party turned south, and the ill-fated Donners were doomed to repeat the fatal mistake. For three days the little wagons inched straight south before find a pass, and for three more days the wagons repeated the wasteful exercise, this time heading straight north on the opposite side of the narrow mountain range. The sad detour stands out sharply as an erratic waver on every map of the Donner route.
But for me the Ruby detour was the most pleasant surprise of the trip. The kind people who ranched in Clover and Ruby Valley would pass me from ranch to ranch, calling ahead and paving the way as solicitously as any mother would for the welfare of her child. But I didn't know that when I first turned south to follow the long way round those endless mountains.
I tore away on a 2 lane highway tense and angry and defensive and walked or raced with hostility south on the hostile road. A drugged psycho had assaulted a woman and kidnapped her and her 2 kids the day before on I-80. My pack was too heavy for the golf cart again and the heavy flare bag cut my hands. A fat man in a camper sat in a desolation of sage plain and simply smoked and watched as I walked by. After a couple of hours I turned onto the side loop closer to the mountains that were dotted with ranches on the map. My body melted in a grateful relief as the tension of the highway disappeared. Sometimes I'm not even aware of the stress of battling high- way potential danger. My pace slowed and I drank deeply and noticed for the first time the gentle warmth of the morning sun. 
The Ruby Mountains majestically formed a rugged snow patched backdrop for the tiny dots of ranches below. Then the alfalfa fields, emerald green and dotted with fresh bales wafting their sweet and tender fragrance. A tractor moved in gentle harmony far away and the peace of the scene flooded my senses. My God, it's paradise! Here in Nevada, parched and brown Nevada, tucked secretly in this state of bad press, here was the greenest, loveliest, loftiest paradise of the entire trip. My surprise made its reality all the sweeter. I walked in awe, blinking and overwhelmed. The 12,000 foot mountains, high enough to hold melting snow all year, were the key that made this valley bloom and the others lie silent and brown. Tiny sparkling streams gurgled through willow brush ditches. Cheerful birds darted in the undergrowth, oblivious to the rare miracle of this Clover Valley.
Again, I' m thinking, My God, I'm in ultimate happiness, exalting, inspired, bursting with triumph and meaning and optimism. How could I lose this so quickly and forget, "Oh ye, of little faith".....
A battered pickup stopped and a 33 year old man, huge black beard, sweat stained brim on felt hat, friendly harmless face and eyes behind the beard offered a ride. I declined and then he started talking, helpfully drawing maps, invitations to his ranch (too far off my route) and generally took time to be encouraging. He had a severe case of stuttering and I tensed, but he in no way let his speech impediment prevent him from extending friendly gestures. He said, "This ts the best time in history to be alive. One can do anything if one has the guts, even walk across the country. There is freedom now to do whatever you want with your life. My wife and I worked on shrimp boats in Alaska to get money to buy our ranch.  I 'm the living proof it can be done. This is the best of times to be alive.'' We parted that I felt great optimism. He was someone not only devoid of complaints but actually endorsing life itself. It was a bold statement and coming through a crippling stutter, it seemed al1 the more affirmative.
The wonderful ranch people who invited me for lunch or asked me to spend the night somehow cast me instantly into the role of an eastern representative who was in dire need of western enlightenment. Mingled with their gracious and genuine hospitality, I was urged, even commanded to listen carefully so that I could get it all straight. Western anger was a force to be reckoned with. My opinions were never solicited; it was assumed that I was their own version of an eastern stereotype. "Massachusetts? I suppose you're one of the Teddy Kennedy lovers."
"Next time you're in Washington, D.C.......,"
''I've only been there once in my life.''
"Well, all those places are right close together back there anyway.''
"Those people in the east don't appreciate us. All they think of is the price of beef in the supermarket. Do you know that every farmer feeds 40 families?''
"Those ecologists from back there who've never even seen a coyote think they can come out here and tell us not to kill them."
"Now the environmentalists are trying to say that we have to do some thing about the dust on the roads to the mines. Did you ever hear anything more ridiculous? First they come up with so many stupid rules that the copper mine has to shut down and now this. That copper plant meant the livelihood of 40 families. Kid, you ever hear anything more senseless? Way out there in the middle of the desert and they're worrying about how  clean the air is. The wind blows up more dust in 10 minutes than all the copper plants and gravel roads.”
“Now we have to go running to the archeologist every time we want to dig a hole in case it might be some Indian ground. I don't care what anyone says. No one will tell me where I can dig or what Indian artifacts I can pick up.”
“I heard that they stopped the construction of an electric power plant because of some little fish or snail. It's just crazy depriving thousands of people of electricity because of some little fish or frog that no one could ever care about or ever even heard of.”
“Oh yeah they want to keep this land government owned so people from back there like the Sierra Club can stomp around up there. They can't find there way up a hill without a guide but they think they need to set aside good grazing land just to tramp around on.”
Again and again I heard about the wildlife preservationists biggest blunder, the save the wild horses campaign. That one mistake is cited like the black mark it is every time the word ecology is breathed. I fear they'll never live it down.
“The thing that we don't like is all you people from the east coming out here sticking your noses into our business, telling us what to do with the land here, where we can and can't build dams, when you don't know what you're talking about. Why don't you just stay back where you came from?”
“Who are you talking about?”
“All those people from Washington who come out here and try to tell us how to run our lives.”
“Massachusetts? I suppose you're for the ERA.” 
The last wonder of it all was that feeling as these people exuded warmth and hospitality as if to a dear friend. I had not seen such political passion and bitterness since the Vietnam debate at its height. We in the east simply have no conception of the animosity these people have toward us. And they have no idea how surprised we'd be to learn this. They would be surprised to learn how splintered and divided are eastern points of view. Perhaps sadly and closer to the truth is the fact that most of us never think of Nevadans at all, not in animosity, not in sympathy, not at all. Our visions of them are vague and hazy. Theirs of us are sharp and definite and probably wrong, inaccurate.
It was just my luck that I stumbled into the home of the Neffs where I found myself face to face with the chairman of some district against the ERA and getting the whole passionate lecture parts I and II. Kathy, an animated and intelligent woman was speaking breathlessly, passionately while I sat dazed and tongue tied by the onslaught. The more she talked, the more I realized that we disagreed on everything. We were at odds over welfare farm issues, gay rights, women’s issues, religion, families, on and on. The strangest thing was that the more areas of disagreement we explored, the more I realized how very much I liked her. Having finally found my tongue we both kept up a rapid fire of exchanges not even pausing as we climbed the stairs to get me settled, not even pausing to get supper underway, not even pausing more than an instant to answer questions fired hopefully by her children. Off we were on the subject of books, and there we were again, deadlocked in disagreement.
''As far as I’m concerned," said Kathy, "I consider reading anything besides the classics as a waste of my time." 
"The classics!'' I shrieked. "I wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole, too boring."
Kathy's eyes snapped and sparkled and her face glowed with the exhilaration of a vigorous exchange of ideas. It's hard to explain even now, but there was a fondness even love between Kathy and me that was unmarred by our passionate arguments about everything.
Months later, back home, I was trying to give a sympathetic description of the conservative western viewpoint to a very liberal friend of mine.
"How could you stand to be around people with those attitudes?” she said.
"What?" I asked dumbfounded.
"I mean, these are the people who vote against aid to the inner cities! How could you stand them?"
''Stand them, I love them!" I shouted. "I don't know anything about their voting, but those conservatives were the warmest most humane group of people I’ve ever met. They were wonderful to me when I needed it, and beyond that who's to judge?''
Farther south in Ruby Valley I stayed with the Smiths, a Mormon family with impressive ancestry.
John and her husband, Paul, spoke with the most gentle yet riveting voices I've ever heard. In the evening they knelt around a chair with their two daughters and all clasped hands in prayer. The hairs stood up on the back of my neck and little shivers danced on my spine. Their voices floated and caressed each reverent word. Afterward, not wanting to break the spell, I asked JoAnn to tell me about the Mormon practice of tracing back their genealogies. She took an enormous album from the bookcase and sat with me intoning the names of grandmothers and great uncles. She turned the weighty pages slowly and moved her pointing finger while reading short stories of people long dead and nearly forgotten. The atmosphere was hypnotic  and I felt carried away.
Dinner with the Smith family was a lesson in nutrition, all food grown or made on the farm. We ate homemade cottage cheese and butter, home grown beef and vegetables, eggs from the farm chickens, honey from the meadow hive, homemade bread, milk fresh, berries and cream.
The next day my walk was through the most dynamic and magnificent geography and weather of the trip. The high, high mountains caught and swirled the black and white storm clouds while the valley and I were burned briefly as the sun cut through the cold air. The rain had set the mountain streams sparkling and gurgling down to the valley pastures where the cattle grazed, thousands of tiny brown dots, tweed. The wind increased and I did battle. The clouds above swept violently and noisily down the peaks through the dr??s and the sun was blackened frequently. I arrived exhausted and exhilarated at the ranch where the foreman showed me the ancient bunk-house.
Days later I had long ago left the ranches and walked miles alone. A ranch ahead meant a decision to make, stop or go. I walked on trusting an inner guide to make the decision. Answer, no, I walked on....
Another day hot and weary I looked for a camping and hiding spot, juniper trees. Dragged my bag under branches and ate and waited. Stormy clouds gathered and sent brief spits of rain. I ate evaporated milk, wheat germ, baby food and tuna. I battened down hatches and crawled into my sleeping bag. It was 2:30 in the afternoon and I stayed there till 7:30 next day. Some where during those hours I realized that I was as alone as I'd ever been, 50ish miles from a town and 10 from the nearest ranch on a  back road with no cars. A hundred miles of wilderess stretched ahead of me. I felt a grin spread over my face. Somewhere on this journey my fear of wide open spaces had completely disappeared. I watched a salmon colored bug scorpion or spider climb about the sage and sand. The coyotes howled during the dark hours. Rain squalls sent me deep under my cover. A loud determined gnawing told me something was in my seed pack. I turned on the flashlight and was greeted by 2 bright beady eyes and large ears, the alert and wistful face of a sweet little mouse. It had run gently over my bag earlier.
Before the trip I was willing to pay any price for proper equipment. Accordingly, I paid $65 for a breathable rain jacket made of the outdoor equipment wonder fabric, the new gore-tex. The only wonder I found about it was the price! Every time it rained, I walked in a perfect white fury as the damn thing leaked like a flannel shirt. So I cut a hole in a garbage bag which I pulled over my head to keep the rain off my fancy dancy gore-tex rain gear. There I walked in all my glory with a plastic garbage bag over my head!
When not in a rage over my lousy rain jacket, I experience a great high while walking in the rain.
It was the first rain the area had had in many months. When the clouds lifted (after a soaking night camping on the mountain) I gazed startled at the higher elevations which were covered deeply with new fallen snow.
On the western side of the Ruby Mountains there was a town called Jiggs. It is clearly inscribed on every map of Nevada I've ever seen. The funny thing about this town is not only its name, but its population. The population is 3. One approached s it over a pleasant road and comes upon a cluster  of buildings. The large imposing brick building has been empty for years, I was told. A tiny empty looking decrepit building sits unworthy of a passing glance until the neatly newly labeled sign, U.S. Post Office is noticed. There appear to be holes in the roof and the long grass surrounding it looks untrodden. Across the street a tiny building leaning at a nervous tilt wears the sign, Jiggs Volunteer Fire Dept. It looks barely wide enough for a VW bug. I didn't look to see what kind of fire truck sits there. Across the street from the firehouse is the Jiggs Bar, a place of community, congregation, Indian artifacts, local cultural history, recreation, gossip center, restaurant and old fashioned goodwill. Ruby and Oliver Breschini, both in their 60's run or preside over the venerable institution of the Jiggs Bar. They kept and fed me royally for 5 nights in a heavenly state of passivity. I merely sat back and let the stories unfold.
Twenty two years ago Oliver went on a fishing binge. Every single day for six months he arose at 4 AM and fished till 7 AM when it was time for work. After work at 4:30 he picked up his high school son and they would fish until dark. One day Ruby, his wife, said, "Stop fishing. Take me arrowhead hunting." Oliver went arrowhead hunting with her. AND HAS NOT PICKED UP A FISHING POLE SINCE!! For 27 years arrowhead hunting has been their passion.
The next day we went arrowhead hunting again, this time to the valley which spilled on to the plain from the mountains. The scenery was spectacular. The quiet hush seemed like Indian air and I was seeing through Indian eyes the game paths running from mountain to valley. The ground was littered with chips left behind when Indians sat in watch and waiting while tooling their weapons. Pinon pine fragrance, cold air, hot sun, steep hill up from smooth  pine floor, rocky ledges, beautiful.
I heard a buzzing noise clearly from a dark rock pile. I call Oliver who, hard of hearing, hears nothing. Whenever he throws a rock, the buzzing increases to a furious pitch. We call Ruby who identifies it as a rattlesnake. I learned later it was her first snake but “when you hear one, you'll know it” goes the popular local wisdom.) By this time I move close enough to see the rattling tail curved upright and vibrating. Oliver goes to the truck to get the shovel for the kill. (Not killing a found rattler is inconceivable here in the west.) Oliver moves the rock and the snake emerges, a Western Diamondback rattler. I am breathless but felt great sadness for the snake who is about to be killed. It only wanted to hide and be left alone. CHOP goes Oliver's shovel and he gives me the rattle.
We continue hunting arrows, but it's prime rattlesnake country. My nylon jogging shoes feel feeble. I imagine fangs piercing the thin fabric. Ruby admonishes, “Now Barbara, don't be afraid of snakes. You must not let anything interfere with arrow hunting.” Ruby scrambles over rocks, a spry 67 year old dynamo while I tiptoe along behind skittish, every step a potential snake den. The hair on the back of my neck rises yet I giggle with hysterical daring. Ruby urges me on, but I'm afraid to walk easily, so I step daintily with cold chills, sneaking silently. There's no rationale behind this; I'd be better off making noise to get rattle warnings before the strike. I look down in this state of taut snake anticipation and see a sweet little pearl white arrowhead. It lies there a gleaming perfect tooth, my first whole arrowhead! I call Ruby who admires it lavishly.
Ruby climbs up the ledges, “You can go here, Barbara, I have already checked it." Then the buzz starts again. Ruby shouts, “Oliver, come here and kill another snake. Oliver. Oliver!!"
I call, “Oliver, another snake. Come up here." 
We wait and wait. Oliver comes slowly picking his way carefully since his deafness precludes hearing warning rattling. Ruby is furious at his slowness. Then “Hey! There's TWO!!” Oliver kills them. One falls between the rocks out of reach.
Oliver says, “Let's get the hell out of here.” All agree.
Wow! I found my first perfect arrowhead and saw my first rattler all at once. This is the life!
Oren Probert, the manager of the Commercial Hotel in Elko, Nevada gave me a complimentary room. When I sought him out to thank him I found myself ushered before a patriarchal figure of a man, almost Biblical in his virile proportions. It was not surprising to learn that he is a leader of the Mormon Church as well as a successful businessman. What was surprising to learn was that Oren Probert had been battling cancer for many years. For three years he bad endured chemotherapy so severe that he was able to leave his bed only one day per week. He had lost a lung, kidney, and part of his intestines to the ravaging disease. He was making a weekly 500 mile round trip for constant monitoring by his doctors in Salt Lake City. After years of illness, his 27 year old son had died one month before. A week after our first meeting, Oren had to cancel a trip because the doctors had found something new on his cancer scan. Try as I might, I could find no melancholy or self pity in Oren Probert. An optimistic smile hovered ticklishly around the corners of his mouth and his eyes rested in perpetual amusement.
Oren and his statuesque wife, Beverly, invited me to attend their church. I quickly accepted and then had second thoughts. My only clothes were my ragged trail outfits, and I felt that my radical departure from the exalted Mormon ideal of the woman's role would put a strain on everyone.  My doubts were dispelled immediately as the men and women of the church surrounded me with enthusiastic support and encouragement. I was frankly astonished and asked one woman quite directly, “How can it be that you are all being so approving of me when your church so feverently pushes the 'woman in the home' theme?”
“'Really,” she said, “I think my church would approve your venture as setting a wonderful example for your children, of following your deepest beliefs and goal's.”
It came out as a beautiful answer although I still can't quite square it with official church policy!
I'm bewildered by all the generosity of the people here, Ruby, Oliver, Scott, Oren, church people, store people, casino people, etc. I've almost lost a sense of what I'm doing or who I am. Why am I being so showered with gifts, long underwear, gloves, beef jerky, pants, money; it confuses me. I've done nothing to deserve this. Others are mired in need, in fact, I'VE been more in need earlier in this trip. How should I handle all this, inside my head, especially?
The power has been off all day in Elko. It makes it seem special, and the weather has suddenly turned almost bitter cold with snow whitening even the low mountains and flurries in the air all day. I have a need to hit the road again. After one day's rest I'm always surprised at my urge to move on. Moving on satisfies some part of me even when the moving is difficult. I'm especially eager to test myself in the cold and snow and clear my head again. It's so easy to get off track by the reactions of others. This ultra service is even more bewildering than the hostility or indifference. All my thank you's seem inadequate. I almost feel like some kind of imposter. Have people built me into something I'm not? Have  I misled people somehow into thinking I'm something I'm not? I am in reality a very, very privileged and lucky person to have the opportunity to do this trip. I'm not to be pitied but more to be envied. Every day every experience is a joy. Every new experience something to be savored, even ants in my sleeping bag!