I had only three goals in mind for my zero days at Rattle River Hostel: rest, relaxation and recuperation; and not necessarily in that order.
The only schedule I kept was to wake up in time for breakfast, which was included in the cost of my stay.
I didn’t want to do much else. What little I did was often done while putting ice on my ankle and keeping it elevated. That included watching a four-hour Grateful Dead documentary on Amazon Prime and calling my dad.
One of the few things I did that didn't involve sitting on the couch was making two resupply trips to Walmart. Why two? The second one was mostly just to give me a reason to get off the couch.
Stick arrived at the hostel late Friday morning and he also went on the second Walmart trip.
Another hiker who went with us to Walmart was a guy with the trail name Tengo Hambre. He kept us laughing for most of the trip to the store as he cracked one joke after another.
We also laughed about his trail name. What was it, someone asked? Tango Hombre? What does that mean, "dances with men?"
No, he corrected. It's Tengo Hambre, which is Spanish for “I am hungry.”
That may be the most fitting name for a hiker I’ve heard.
I made the first trip to Walmart by myself. No one else needed to go that evening, so Yellow and I were Mellow’s only passengers.
On our way back to the hostel, Mellow suddenly stopped his car at the side of the road where it passed a wide spot on the Androscoggin River. Without saying a word, he quickly jumped out of the car and ran across the highway.
It took me a moment to realize why. When I looked up I saw the most magnificent sunset I had ever seen. It seemed that the sky was on fire. Red, orange, yellow and violet hues filled the sky and reflected on the water.
I got out of the car and crossed the road to where Mellow was standing. We snapped several photos and then stood there silently until the sunset began to fade.
It seems a cliché to call a sunset inspiring. I can’t say I was feeling inspired at this moment, anyway.
Certainly, though, I was awed by this beautiful sight. And maybe, just maybe, it was a sign of better days ahead.