They said that thru-hiker was afraid of the dark
and maybe also something else. Even in the
daylight he would scurry and look around when
so much as a twig snapped behind him. He stomped 
his boots a little too loud, tapped his hiking poles
againist every rock he found, and sung stupid songs
after passing by a cloud. Maybe it was a little 
annoying when every single hiker could hear him
over a hundred yards away, but he had to make
sure to scare off any bears. That’s what he read on
the park site countless times before he set out on 
his thru-hike. As the sun began to set, he would
make camp. Sometimes a little too close to the other
canpers and sometimes he would leave his lantern
on a little too long. It took him a while to fall asleep;
he only could when he felt safe. He told himself it was
just paranoia from hearing too many stories and
listening to day hikers fear mongering. In his heart 
as well as his brain, he knew he was far more likey
to get hurt in a big city or even a small town for that
matter, but a part of him was afraid of vast wilderness.
He grew up in the suburbs where the closest to nature
one could get was a local park. Maybe that’s why he
seemed a little odd and was always checking everything.
He didn’t grow up in a place where one was free to
explore. It wasn’t a place where he could learn how 
to dig a cathole or how to follow the white blazes along
the trees, but he still was willing to go out to the trail
and give it a try. Maybe he wasn’t what one would
usually consider a thru-hiker, but he was still out there hiking.