My goal, on waking, is to be to the Campground to meet the rest of our merry band of miscreants around 10am. If yesterday is any indication, that is a flat-out impossibility, and so I grit my teeth and endure a little more drama with my continental breakfast coffee, shoo everyone out the hotel door by 9:50 for a hopeful arrival sometime not too much later than 10.
We’re there, finally, out of the car, and I’m simultaneously hugging and apologizing to the Irish Lawyer – so good to see him! – but, in his words, what more can be said about the Battle of Normandy that hasn’t already been said? We put it behind us, settle in for a beer like it’s a zero or something1, catch up. Then it’s rousing ourselves and piling the seven of us into vehicles, first for breakfast at the Brown Dog Cafe, then for the trip to Mount Princeton Hot Springs.
Speeding towards a hot spring while listening to the radio and chatting with A and Spesh and loving on the a Pitbull-Pointer mix on my lap… this is a beautiful day.
We all get the primo-package and spend the day in the less-crowded spa away from small, screaming children, soaking in hot springs, steaming in saunas, and plunging in freezing-cold plunge pools2. My foot feels good, my back feels good, my legs feel good. We have amazing bouts of conversation – talk of life on the trail, and lives not on the trail – when we’re not letting our silence speak to our contentment. It threatens to rain, but we don’t mind, so it decides to take its rain elsewhere, where it will get the groans it so properly deserves. All the madness of yesterday is eased away by the company and the soothing attentions of warm water.
Eventually, our bodies turn to prunes and our thoughts turn to food; we go back to Moonlight Pizza, and I am oh-so-not-sorry about the decision. We stuff our faces full and return to the campsite for a fire, an actual fire, and so many stories to go with it. The last of our merry band, NoDay, arrives later in the evening; she’s going to hike with Crankster and I for about a week once we hit Highway 114, and I’m glad to have even more amazing company to look forward to in a couple of days. A song is sung, a haunting story told, and everyone slinks off to bed – late but early, too short a time to spend in such good company. My heart aches when I think about setting off tomorrow, so I don’t, opting instead to snuggle up to Speshul and fall asleep with the love from the day around me like my sleeping bag.
Start: 260.2 • End: 260.2 • Day: 0
Notable Accomplishments: So much laughter! • So much love! • So much light!
 OH YEAH, IT IS. Zero with friends. Awww. Yisss.
 Or stick one’s pinky toe in. I hate being cold, even after the sauna.