I wake up hungover. My whole body aches. My throat is on fire.
Well. I think, boiling water for coffee. Ain’t that some shit.
I eat slowly. I get dressed slowly. I pack up slowly. Above all, I put my feet in my soaking wet shoes and socks extremely slowly.
First thing, we pull ourselves up a mountain. It is a great climb back from the monument, six miles of stunning views and up, up, up. I feel off, strangely achey everywhere, but I still see the truth of what’s in front of me. This is one of the more beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
Our climb ends and I find Laurie on the vista, eating dried chili mango and staring into the abyss. Laurie feels off today, too— not in the same throat on fire way, just tired. We yardsale our things, drying them in the sun. We talk about our maladies, and two other hikers join us. By some stroke of truly bizarre, one of them is a housemate I had briefly in 2011. Neither of us were into thru hiking then, and now here we are. Imagine that!
Laurie and I pack up our things and head into another climb, this one with some fairly significant snow patches to navigate. Halfway up, I hear the hikers from the vista screaming my name. I’ve left my stakes!!! They’ve got them, they yell that they’ll meet me halfway. I’m horrified, I also lost all of Carrot’s stakes on the MRT, and I just ordered these new ones to replace the ones I gave her. I don’t want to be the lady always forgetting her stakes, and so I commit to trying harder.
We climb up and down. We weave in and out of Pine and Ponderosa Forest. I ignore my throat by losing myself in my audiobook, it’s called Queenie and it’s really good. I spend time looking at the mountains. I spend time asking trees questions about what I should do with my life. I spend time crying a little because this is hard, but real life is harder. I feel lonely. I miss my lover and I miss my dog. I feel homesick, I miss a place that feels so familiar that I can recall it like the back of my hand. That place doesn’t exist for me yet, but maybe sometime it will. I eat chips. I am a bottomless well of feelings and hunger.
I start to feel over warm and I can’t tell if I have a fever or if the sun is intensifying. My head is pulsing. I desperately want to sleep, but instead, I walk.
We make it to the campsite 19.8 miles away from where we started and I am destroyed. My whole body aches- the back of my knees, my ass, my ankles. I have bruises all over my legs, on my collarbones and on my hips. I have blisters, a lot of blisters in weird little crevices between my toes.
With my last bit of energy, I set up my shelter, I heat my beans, I blow up my neoair, and I climb into bed. I feel like absolute shit, and I know the best thing I can do is sleep.
📍 This section of the Pacific Crest Trail is on unceded Nlaka’pamux, Syilx/Okanagan, and Columbia-Wenatchi land.