We wake up to howling wind, whipping around our little shelter. Will it rain today? Forecast didn’t say so, the last time we had service, but if I had to guess now, I’d say yes. It is definitely going to rain.
I pack up as quickly as I can, we’re trying to up our daily mileage now and we know for sure we’re most likely to succeed if we hike out early. I leave before Carrot, going slow— so much slower than I want to, like I am walking through a river of peanut butter and mud. Why is my body moving so slowly after a perfectly quiet and restful night’s sleep? With weather that is absolutely medium in temperature and terrain that is entirely unbothersome, completely milquetoast in its presentation. The mysteries of hiking, man. The world may never know.
A few miles in, my foot is throbbing. There’s something in there, underneath the skin, and I carefully remove my socks to examine. I poke a sore spot and a thin stream of yellow puss shoots out. I try to squeeze it more, but nothing happens. I hand sanitize it, quick (is this like…going to a doctor?) and I hike on. What can you do? All there is is walking now.
I trudge slowly toward our lunch spot, at a creek 11 miles in. I listen to Eat, Pray, Love because that’s just the type of bitch I am. The author is in Italy during this part of the book and she’s eating so much. Soft buttery pizzetas. Thick creamy gelatos. Bitter greens dressed in lemon and garlic and cracked pepper. I love when she talks about the food, it takes my brain right where it wants to be. Food!!!!! God, I love food.
Today I play a long and elaborate game of take off and put on my layers. Is it hot, is it cold?! It’s freezing hot, you see, both hot and cold at once. A fun game of stopping and starting.
During one de-layer, my phone pings me. There’s something wrong with my bank account, I am getting weird emails that don’t tell me all that much from both my bank and the companies I pay my bills through, the autopayments. I try to call my bank from the ridge I am changing my clothes on, but the reception is weird and bad and I only understand a little of what is going on. Long story short, my checking account is empty and I’ll need to do some magic to get money from my savings into there as soon as I am in town. They can’t transfer the money for me, for some reason having to do with federal regulations and transfer. I am 800$ overdrawn, which is very distressing.
The sky has been on and off thick and threatening grey and black. I get to our lunch spot late, and just as I do, fat raindrops start to fall. I have my own shelter, we’ve packed two just in case we need space sometime on trail, and I’m setting it up as Carrot arrives. We eat our lunches under the tarp, decadently heating water for mid day tea and ramen. The sky pours, and just as we’re finishing up, it clears. I pack my tent away as the sun comes out, once again.
I eat too much at lunch and I am nauseous on the immediate climb. I’m hot and I’m cold, we go up and we go down. The sky is clear for a long stretch, and then it goes back to grey. I have raging hiker hunger today. I don’t get hungry like this unless I am hiking and I haven’t felt such a tight ball of need since I was anorexic, seven or eight years ago. I panic inside being so hungry, go to the space where I weigh 95 pounds, where I am shaking trying not to eat even though food is what I desperately need. I know I am safe now. I am going to eat as much as possible, as soon as I can. My body is a constellation of my experiences, though and even very very far away from the past, here I am- exactly me, with exactly my traumas and triggers, always just the same.
📍The Mogollon Rim trail is on Yavapai, Western Apache, Hopi and Hohokum land. I am a grateful guest.