I wake up at five and scroll on my phone in the dark. There’s nothing there, but still, I have to look. Eventually, Carrot wakes too, makes us hotel room coffee and flings open our curtains. Soft yellow light streams in, a cascade of morning glow. It’s going to rain all day! Can’t trick me, sunshine. I know the truth.
And it does. We write and eat and cuddle while rain taps down and don’t talk much at all. Every fiber of me is still exhausted and I’m trying to soak up as much bed time as humanly possible. We have sixty miles left, but I’d bet money they’ll be hard miles. I am curious to see.
We put clothes on and resupply at the gas station and the tiny grocery store. I buy three bags of instant refried beans, a box of instant rice, three bags of chips, some olive oil and ten bars. I have a post office box waiting for me in Blue, just a day or so away. I AM NEVER GOING HUNGRY AGAIN. At least not on this trail.
Another thing we do, because we love ourselves and want us to be happy, is go to the thrift store and buy more layers. I buy a child’s fleece with an iron print burned into the sleeve. Carrot buys a chartreuse pullover to wear under her rain jacket. I buy some long underwear to sleep in. Then I buy another long sleeve shirt as a base layer. Bye bye bye, cold.
We write and eat again, until it’s time for dinner— a moment I’ve been waiting for all day. There’s a place with pizza a block away and I’ve been saying I’m going to eat a whole cheeseless pie for days. The place is weird though, a lot of hunters, older folks who glare at us and talk about our tattoos and piercings as if we cannot hear. We’re not touching each other, we’re wearing all of our layers. We look so….regular. But of course we stand out. Maybe because we are women out of the home unaccompanied by men? I don’t fuckin’ know man, but it freaks my shit.
My pizza comes and it is giant and I only manage half. The sheriffs come into the restaurant and the patrons fall all over themselves, thanking the men for keeping them safe. The same couple that hates our tattoos so much sneakily buys them their pizza. The owner of the restaurant berates our waiter, loudly and in front of us. We gotta get the fuck outta here! In this town it seems you gotta choose to be either with the police or the militia and I’m gay as fuck, I’m happy to offer migrants crossing the border water, and I can’t imagine a person with a job based on structural power and upholding white supremacy being good.
Time to get back to the forest.
📍The Mogollon Rim trail is on Yavapai, Western Apache, Hopi and Hohokum land. I am a grateful guest