It rains steadily all night, but somehow this morning is the only one so far without condensation. Sunkist’s new working theory is that it’s because there was a breeze, which seems as plausible as anything else. We’ll crack this condensation code yet!
21 miles from where I stand, Carrot is waiting in her van. She says she’ll cook us rice noodles with cabbage and beans and olive oil and sea salt, that I can sleep in her van bed with her. I haven’t hiked 21 miles in a while, certainly not on this trip yet, but I am MOTIVATED and so by 6:45AM I am completely packed and ready to go. Let’s do this.
First we finish the steep descent we started yesterday. The descent is full of lush greenery that wants to gently moisten us to death. Two miles in, I am completely soaked from the waist down, though the sun is shining bright. My shoes squeak as I walk, and I try not to let it touch me. Carrot. Van. Dogs. Cabbage. Noodles. Beans. What’s a little water?
The descent ends and we start to climb. We climb 2500 feet in four miles which at times has felt like not too much, but today feels brutal. I stop frequently, on account of not being able to breathe. Each time I rest I grow discouraged, but then I look up and see I am held in the belly of the bowl that is the Cascades. It’s so beautiful here, there aren’t even words. I try to take pictures and they pale in comparison. It’s sad, the human need to capture immensity, how we’ll fail over and over again.
At time top of the climb it is cold with socked in fog. Bogwitch and I set our shelters up to dry and I sit inside of mine, merrily eating vegan cheez-it’s and cough drops, on account of my weird throat. I drink hot emergency and eat a bar. I pack up my shelter, noting that it’s all downhill from here and I decide to crush.
Downhill turns out to be rolling hills. On the upswings my energy peters out, but on the downhills I jog. I listen to Beyoncé’s Homecoming and I cry thinking about black excellence and Beyoncé’s dedication to highlighting it. I feel fucking great.
Three and a half miles from camp, I have to shit. This hiking experience is weird, there are too many people to poop and I often end up holding it. I set out to find a private place, try to dig cat hole after cat hole and am continuously greeted with other people’s turds. There is just no glamorizing this situation and I am grossed out that humans have to shit at all. Damnit I think, finally finding a turd free zone to dig a hole. Why do people have to be so fucking gross?
My last miles are the gentlest of forest and I am running. A dude tries to keep my pace and cannot, which pleases me greatly, not for ego’s sake, but because I’m not trying to chat. At Rainy Pass I pee in the pit toilet and throw away my trash and at last, I see Carrot’s van in the distance.
“Carrrrottttt!” I yell. “Hi!!!!”
📍This section of the Pacific Crest Trail is on unceded Nlaka’pamux, Syilx/Okanagan, and Columbia-Wenatchi land.