A rest day is for walking onto the main drag and going into Chipotle. You order a bowl, the biggest bowl of beans and rice and vegetables you have ever seen and when the server asks which salsa you’d like you say “ALL OF THEM”. You order chips, too, a giant paper sack of chips and you eat all of it until you’ll burst and then you stare down at what’s left, numb. They’re playing The Slits over the loud speaker and the lights are fluorescent. Out the window is majestic red rock and inside it’s just….Chipotle.
You find your motel. The clerk thinks you’re cool and it’s weird because you’re not cool, never really have been? You dropped out of high school because you were so uncool you didn’t even have one single friend? You get your key and you turn your rain jacket into a skirt, your puffy into a shirt so that you may do your laundry without flashing ass in the launder mat. You teach your love this trick, and she looks incredible in her rain jacket skirt. She’s humble, though, so she will never know the depths of her special rain jacket skirt beauty.
Eventually, you have a very tiny pile of clean laundry and thousands of words to write. You edit from bed until you fall asleep and the next day you wake up and edit more.
In the morning your wounds are still raw, but less so. You spend hours between the sheets, typing into your phone and eating vegan queso on newly procured corn chips, ones that are completely whole, not even a little crushed. You finish typing and your girlfriend kisses gently between your thighs, mindful of your chafe and your wounds. Eventually, the housekeeper comes in, surprised to note that you have not left, and instead of leaving, you are in fact having gay sex.
You check out of the motel. You hitch to the post office and you note that you must carry six days of food, twice as much as your last section, and you are dismayed. You go to a Safeway and feel generally freaked out. All of these people, man, and their hopes and their dreams all splayed out all over the grocery store. It’s like, a lot.
You lose your spork. You walk from tourist shop to tourist shop, at least half of the shops have “hiking” in their name. No one has a spork, they just sell t-shirts silly, but don’t worry- your girlfriend steals one from an ice cream parlor and hands it to you, all warmth and glow in her eyes.
You love her, and tomorrow you hike.
📍The Mogollon Rim trail is on Yavapai, Western Apache, Hopi and Hohokum land. I am a grateful guest.