Waking too early in the grass behind the church to the birds, Duffy who lives in the RV and waters the grass at the church drives us in his camper van to the greasy spoon in the next town over; breakfast is on the house. Two eggs and home fries with peppers in them, give my toast to Twinkle, Guffy went to burning man the last nine years, he wears a neat red gingham shirt, “eighty-six years old”. Back at the store I write postcards, charge my phone, make a protein shake and then we walk to the swimming hole- me, Woody, Twinkle, Guthrie, Kimchi and Pip, who we just met. The swimming hole is a mining claim, I borrow the inner tube leaning against an oak tree and paddle around in the cold water. We sit on the sun-warmed rocks covered in caddis flies, Kimchi opens beers with a stone. I feel tired and too warm from the sun, shake my hair over my face to shade it. The afternoon slips by, later I eat another burger, write emails, feel almost bored for a moment. Tired, apprehensive. Zero days. What’s going to happen after the trail? I feel more grounded this year, more realistic. I know, I think, what the future holds. The trail ends, the trail is not forever. We go back to our “regular” lives, where we play other roles, besides these ones. Not me though. I can’t go “home”. This is the closest thing I’ve ever found. I’ll take another 200 zeros, though. Finish my book. Maybe get into crossfit. Walk to the store in the afternoons and buy romaine lettuce. The other day, when I was hiking tired, I spent a couple hours imagining what my room might look like. The light coming in the window, maybe a hard futon. The bike I would buy if I had money, leaning against the wall. The marks the chainrings would leave on the paint. I sit on the hard wood bench in the sun on the porch of the sierra city store and drink a bottle of orange juice. Bearclaw and Dirtmonger roll into town, Lead dog and Twigg, a bunch of other hikers. We’re all laughing on the porch of the store, sort of tired though. Some people are looking across the street at the bar. I want to go to bed though. Tomorrow is a new day.
Photos on instagram.