Mile 2295 to mile 2317
I can’t sleep, for some reason- I think because I’m on my neo-air. I sleep best on hard surfaces and prefer just the 1/8 inch gossamer gear pad, but I need the neo-air when it’s cold and tonight I thought it would be cold. But it’s not, and I toss and turn. It grows full dark outside, and I look out the mesh at the forest. It’s so peaceful out there, everything is asleep. Why can’t I?
I finally drift off and then wake at four a.m. to a jolt of anxiety. It’s not light yet so I stay in my sleeping bag and write my blog. At last the light bleeds into the forest and I eat my oatmeal, pack my shelter away. The others are still asleep.
“See you in White Pass,” I whisper as I pass Guthrie’s tent.
There’s a steep climb that takes me up to a ridge from which I can see the white hulk of Ranier on one side, the sunrise on the other. Oh, nature. You never dissapoint. I’m tired, stiff, fidgety. It’s hard to put my head down and just hike. I always feel this way in the mornings. Everyone else seems to be able to hike fast first thing in the morning, but not me. I don’t hit my stride until afternoon.
I get to the convenience store at white pass at 9 a.m. Chance and Mac got in last night and got a room- they did 37 miles over Goat Rocks! They let me shower in the bathroom there, and I leave dirt all over the towels. Afterwards I feel like a new person and I walk back to the store, start a load of laundry. Everyone is there, hanging out, and then Tiny and Brainstorm show up! We haven’t seen them since Sierra City. Now we’ll all be hiking together, towards the border. As much as I whine about hiking in a rolling party, it’s awesome to see some fresh faces. Now if only all the people we know behind us would catch up- I miss them!
The convenience store is tiny but the food, for whatever reason, is awesome, and super cheap. I eat a container of hummus with tortilla chips, two hard-boiled eggs, a basket of wings, french fries, half a honeydew melon and a huge salad with romaine, broccolli, celery, green onions, salami, hardboiled eggs, black olives, and dried blueberries. I’m so happy with all of this.
At 1:30 I hike out with Crispies, Twinkle, Brainstorm and Tiny and I’m hiking heavy- so much food in my stomach! The others are hitching into Packwood for the day- they’ll catch us by Snoqualmie, we’re sure. I’m in the back, inching up the mountain, feeling slow. I take a break and drink water, stare at nothing. A bit later I feel better, almost happy, better than I’ve felt in a while. Hiking, you know? It’s alright.
Twinkle, Crispies and I get to the river where we’re camping at 6:30 and Brainstorm and Tiny are there, tents pitched against the bugs. We sit in the dirt and assemble our dinners, talk about everything that’s happened since the last time we saw each other. Brainstorm, Twinkle and I all camped at the cistern together on day 3-
“If only McButter was here,” I say. “We could have a cistern reunion.”
The forest is cool and dim, the water makes a nice white noise. My sleeping bag is warm, the ground is hard and comfortable. We’re so close to the end, I can feel the regular world there, just waiting. We’re in this river, this long stream of us, and we’re all flowing north, towards the sea.
Photos on instagram.