I toss and turn all night, finally acquiescing and watching Netflix on my phone until 2AM. I am watching Tales of the City, and I didn’t realize how hungry I was for queer representation until I saw people like people I know were on TV, all shiny and beautiful and queer and trans. I am so grateful for this sort of thing but also I’m still so tired. I’d rather be asleep than watching queer dramas unfold, and that’s really saying a lot.
I fall asleep at two AM, under the starlit glow of Mt. Adams. At 5AM I wake up, 100%. I blearily rub my eyes and prepare a double Via, knowing I can’t caffeine away a three hour night of sleep but also not having any other options.
I want to reach the shuttle into Trout Lake at 11. I am 14.5 miles away from town, I am hiking by six AM. I have five miles to go 14.5 miles and so I do. I know my body can do this. Even with my 25 mile day yesterday, even with 3 hours of sleep. I go through undulating forest, and thick mist turns to rain. It is a light rain, I’m going into town today, I don’t even care. I just go.
I text with Monica. I get it in my head that I can go to Portland and I can’t stop thinking about it. I can see my friends. I can lift my bad mood. I can eat a lot of vegan food.
I get to the trailhead to reach the shuttle just before 11, but it turns out the shuttle is at 11:30. I hitch into town instead, bust into the Trout Lake General Store blurry eyed and asking for a shower. I get four dollars of quarters and take the most transcendent 10 minute shower of my life. I scratch away the dirt on my legs, my arms, my face. I’m reborn when I’m done, meander back to the store a totally different person.
I get a huckleberry smoothie and an iced coffee. I eat fries, I eat a salad. I get my box and give away almost everything in it. I packed myself the same food for the entirety of Washington. This is my last box and I hate it all.
Monica shows up with Chipotle for me and it’s packed so heavy with food, I could scream with delight. I eat every bite, and Monica and I talk about firing our respective therapists in the last few months. I fired mine because she said it was a problem to identify as a survivor, when I could be identifying as a thriver. Why can’t I be both?!
We eat ice cream, bringing our friend Tik Tok along. Tik tok might join me for some of Oregon, and I am getting excited thinking about what Oregon will be like. I’ve hiked Washington, but never seen the PCT in Oregon. I hear it’s rolling hills, the least elevation gain and loss on the whole trail, is a lot of nice forest that’s beautiful (though compared to Washington maybe a little boring.) I see my friends Becky and Brenna and they are incredibly high and make a lot of astute observations about, like, life, mannnn. They’re blasted out of their gourds and full of truths that hit the target like arrows out of their mouths.
I go to bed so fucking grateful for my friends, and really full of beans and ice cream. I also go to bed longing to hike. I wish I could conflate Portland and the PCT, have every nice luxury right at the base of the mountain.
📍 This section of the Pacific Crest Trail is on unceded Yakama land.