My alarm goes off at 5:00 – and I turn it off. I roll over and sleep until 7:30. OH GOD IT’S LATE. But I have nothing to do for most of the day; it’s all just waiting until tonight. I’ll hike out around 6, walk back to the trail, and camp in preparation for the following day.
There are pancakes and coffee and coloring again, and actual talk of hiking. The fire we were worried about between Walker Pass and Kennedy Meadows seems to have been contained; the PCT is gonna open back up tonight at 6. There’s a collective sigh of relief.
Mama T needs someone to help her with the recycling, plus someone to solemnly swear that she’s up to no good, so we load up the car with glass and plastic and aluminum. We top it off with sodas and head out, grab ice, drop off the recycling, get gas. We also grab pizzas, and a power source for the snow cone maker Mama T’s brought along for its maiden voyage. I get to hear the Musical Road, which not many hikers hear, what with the whole walking-not-driving thing.
Molasses meets us near the trail and we drive over to the Cottonwood Creek Bridge, where about 30 hikers are waiting out the heat. They get pizza and cold sodas and snow cones and ice, sweet ice, and water to dunk their clothes in.
I am so happy to be able to help, knowing that it would be exactly what I wanted if I were them. Their smiles – and Mama T’s – are infectious, and I’m happy to go around collecting trash and pouring syrup and making sure everyone’s feeling good. I get hugs when we say goodbye, too – strange, but I like hugs. And hikers. And happy.
Our adventure takes all day, and we arrive back at Casa de Luna at ten to 6. I’m not leaving – I need time to process, and also I don’t think I could make it all the way back to the trail over the detour before like 2am at this point. I’d like to do some bucket laundry, I should eat taco salad and brownies. Also, I’m not packed.
I do all of those things and find I’m tired – it’s been a full day, and I sit on the porch and poke words onto a screen for a moment before just… Sitting. Being. And Jackass is playing the guitar, and the giggles of hikers are everywhere, and the darkening evening is full and sweet. I blink to find my eyes are full of tears.
But then there are hikers calling me over, and I trust the dark to hide the glassiness of my eyes as I go off to laugh with them. Tomorrow morning, I’ll walk. Tonight, I’ll just be.
Start: 478.2 • End: 478.2 • Day: 0
Notable Accomplishments: Third Zero • Did trail magic on my one-month trailiversary • Felt the love of the trail community