I sleep at nine PM, and I wake at one AM and then again at 4:30AM before I cave to the urge to rise and organize my food bag at 5. Being meticulous is not actually in my nature and seeing as how I have approximately twenty million tiny items for roughly five weeks and seeing as how I was so exhausted I could hardly feel my face by the time I got to camp last night, I know I’ll probably have to put in a little morning effort to keep all my stuff orderly and actually with me.
My food bag is perfectly organized by 5:15 and it pleases me immensely.
Early wake ups be damned, I feel fuckin’ good. I slept right on the rocky shore of a creek and when I woke up with a still pitched tent and some actual rest under by belt I was downright STOKED. Sure, I got up to pee seventeen times in the night because oh my god why does the sound of running water make me have to pee so bad?! But reader HAVE YOU HEARD OF HIKING/HIKING IS SO FUN.
Miraculously, my rolled left ankle feels fine. The back of my right knee still feels inflamed, I wish I could let the poof out of it by turning a nozzle like the one on my neoair, but I think it’ll be ok. No one is up yet, so I make my breakfast, organize my pack as meticulously as I do my food bag, make a little pot of instant coffee and eat some granola with protein powder “milk”. I make a plan to hike ten miles to trout creek and rest ’til the others catch up.
“I’m takin off!” I holler at six AM and away I go. Time to hike.
Today starts and ends with two five mile climbs that each have 3000 feet of elevation gain. My stomach feels weird from my granola (it was grain free for some reason, why make a grain product that’s grain free?!) but I’m a definite morning person and I’m ready to give all I’ve got.
I finish listening to Hunger by Roxane Gay and I am struck with both gratitude for how my body is serving me in this exact moment and a deep knowing of the incredible privilege just having this body allows me. I have been thinking about the ways marginalized bodies are treated for a long time now, and that thinking informs a good chunk of my politics / my extreme desire for health at every size practitioners whomst have empathy and compassion for every fucking kind of body on Earth. I think about how I love my body and how easy it is for me- a thin, white, able-bodied, fit privilege embodying person- to ask others to do the same. I feel consistently grateful when people take the time to tell their stories for exactly this reason. It’s important for thin people to reflect on their privilege. It’s important for me to think about the ease in which working with my body comes. The whole world supports it.
By 11 the climb is long gone and I meander up to Trout Creek, where Molly and Priyesh wait because they are fast as fuck and passed me almost immediately though they left a half an hour after my start. I learn that their trail names are officially Dad (Molly) and Jukebox (Priyesh) now and then we all sing Blink 182 for no reason beyond the fact that it feels good to act like a fucking ding dong sometimes. Homework joins us and they start calling me Tuffy… you know, because my name is Muffy and I’m tuff.
I eat lunch, dry my tent a little, and put my hat over my face to close my eyes in the shade. Dad, Jukebox, and Homework take off to hike and I putz around the campsite, gathering water and singing more Blink 182 to myself. I’m enjoying my solitude today and it’s also nice to know the friends will be waiting five miles ahead at our last water source until about six miles after we start hiking tomorrow.
We fill up bottles at Panther Campground and a nice lady named Lisa gives us otter pops and red vines. I try to poop in the pit toilet and cannot. (Will I ever poop? Haven’t yet since I stepped foot on trail!) We mentally prepare for the fact that we have another big five mile climb and now we’re each carrying 3-4 liters of water.
At this point in the day, my collarbones are raw and my shoulders are aching with the weight of the excess water. I fantasize about pouring it out (is it worse to be a little thirsty than carry this weight now?!) I sweat ’til it drips into my eyes. I curse and glare at no one and nothing, and within a mile I’m tired of myself and I put on my headphones and ignore my bad attitude. I listen to Rhianna and fly for a bit until then I’m just going a medium pace and then I slow to a near crawl in the last mile. I am sullen and withdrawn and then I see my friends waiting for me and I am overjoyed. People! They exist and they love me and they suffered too but now we’re all here, *~together~*!
What luck, what a gift.