Alley lets me use her shelter and it is paisley and very tall and has a FLOOR. My shelter has no floor, and therefor each night I obsessively worry about mice and how to keep them out. Without the mouse loop playing in my brain, I sleep like the dead.
At first I wake up at six, but then I decide not to. I pull my beanie down over my eyes and sleep until 8:00 AM instead. Usually I’ve been hiking for 1-2 hours by 8:00AM and when I do decide to wake up for real, I feel fucking incredible.
Slowly, I get out of my tent. Bogwitch and Meredith and Alley join me, and slowly, we eat breakfast. We drink coffee. We debate between staying here, at Whatum Lake, or going down to Lost Lake where it’s ten degrees warmer. Alley brought floaties and so we decide to go where it’s warm enough to float. We make avocado toast for me and the rest eat sausage and eggs cooked over open flame in a cast iron skillet. There is no rush to anything, we have plenty of time. I listen more than I talk, a new thing I’m trying out. Bogwitch was thinking they’d go but instead, they decide to stay. I feel happy.
At Lost Lake, I bob in the water, not too far from the shore. Denver and Denver’s chihuahua Rodney show up and I bury my face in soft dog fur, sniff tiny frito feet. We all eat chips and drink wine in the warm sun.
We talk about who in the group could be catagorized as baby and who could be catagorized as Daddy. Everyone is Daddy except me, it turns out– including Rodney the dog. Pisces is always baby though, there’s no shame in that. I don’t make the rules, I just show up to play the game.
The day grows long and I grow sunburned only on the tops of my feet and the crease where my bathing suit meets my belly button. We go back to our campsite and make veggie burgers and meat burgers over the fire and I make mine a double patty with chips between each layer of pea protein patty and bun. I am still hungry when I’m done, but I’m hungry so often now that it feels more annoying than satisfying to eat at all.
We build a fire and my exhaustion is thick, I have trouble keeping my head up. I excuse myself and crawl into my quilt listening to the group talk about starting a massage train. Fleetwood Mac softly plays on the Bluetooth speaker, and they start playing Never Have I Ever. Alley says “Never have I ever shit in the woods” and I drift off, wondering if I could count the amount of times I did exactly that, even if I tried.
📍 This section of the Pacific Crest Trail is on unceded Chinook land.