Mile 1155 to mile 1185
I wake up throughout the night- the gym is dark and creepy and the building makes eerie creaking noises as it settles and shifts.
“Do you think this place is haunted?” I whisper to Twinkle, at one point.
“No,” he says.
I finally drift off for real just before dawn and then Twinkle shakes me awake. I’m in the middle of a dream and I don’t want to open my eyes- and then I remember that I’m sleeping in a gym (illegally) and that some skiers could show up at any moment for their 5 a.m. crossfit workout. Plus, I’ve been farting like crazy all night and out little alcove is getting awfully stuffy- Twinkle is already packed up and by the time I have my shoes on he’s fled to the cold, frozen outside world.
We sit in a patch of sun next to a derelict shed, eating our breakfast and watching the frost melt. I feel exhausted today- it’s been a couple of days since I slept well. We planned for a thirty mile day but the elevation profile looks cruiser- a little up, a little down, lots of ridge walking. We’re far enough north now that there isn’t water running over the trail every quarter mile- bright ridges, dry forest, and then, now and then, a spring bubbling up out of the earth.
In the afternoon we’re taking a food break (I’m stuffing salt and vinegar chips into my mouth) when Mack and Notachance blow past. They’re headed all the way to Sierra City tonight- a 42 mile day! They’ll get in around 1 a.m. Dang! Then Guthrie catches up and the three of us hike together- Guthrie and Twinkle are both hurtin’ em on account of needing new shoes, and we plod our way steadily towards the campground that is our destination for the night. As for me, I feel great- I may have a lot of problems on the trail but foot pain, so far, is not one of them.
An hour later Brainstorm blows by- he’s doing a 52 mile day into sierra city, and he’s been cruising 4 mph all afternoon. He’s gonna give notachance and mack a run for their money! We cheer him on and then he’s off, down the trail.
The campground is a half mile off the trail, a sprawling wooded lot stuffed with RVs, their generators rumbling. We find an empty campsite right at dusk, roll out our bedrolls and sit at the picnic table, assembling the dregs of our dinners. A picnic table! Trash cans! Flush toilet! What luxury is this. A woman walks by with a little girl, the little girl pulling a tiny, tiny yorkie.
“Can I pet your dog?” I say. I sit in the dirt and the yorkie jumps in my lap and furiously kisses my face. The dog is moving so fast I can’t actually see what it looks like, but it feels soft and alive. I wish I had a three pound yorkie- it could sleep in my sleeping bag at night. Dang. I tell the woman that we’re hiking the PCT.
“You all need anything?” She says.
“Nah,” I say. “Unless you have a bunch of food?”
“We’ve got leftover lasagna!” She says.
Ten minutes later Guthrie, Twinkle and I are parked around a roaring fire next to a rumbling RV, stuffing our faces with food. The whole family is there- kids, aunts and uncles- they’re on their yearly two-week camping trip and they’re having a blast. There are even dogs! The family grills us with questions about the trail as we eat- it’s nice here, with the fire and the food and the little kids prattling on about this and that- and I want to sit here all night but soon I’m fading, fading. We make our way back to the campsite around 10 p.m. and curl into our bedrolls in the dark- it’s cold tonight, but not as cold as it has been. Just 12 miles to Sierra City in the morning- then giant burgers, swimming holes, rest. And friends!
The good life.
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