Mile 1506.5 to mile 1510
Twinkle gets up at 3 a.m. to try to climb Mt. Shasta- he and Sherri are going to attempt it without ice axes or crampons, just scrambling up the rock. After he leaves I feel strangely awake, alone in the dark hotel room with the air conditioner pumping, and I don’t fall asleep again until 6 a.m. The upside of this is that I spend enough time on facebook to figure out how to unblock myself- I’ve been blocked ever since I posted the photo of everyone mooning on top of Mt. Whitney to the PCT 2014 facebook page, and it got flagged. Now that I’m unblocked I can finally contribute important dialogue to discussions again (“I’M THE FASTEST KNOWN VEGETABLE, MOTHERFUCKERS”, for example), and it feels good.
I wake up again at 9 a.m. feeling like death. I’m still pooping 25 times a day and I feel super weak, woozy, and very very hungry. I eat some blueberries and pistachios as I pack my food bag- checkout is in a couple of hours and I’ve got to clean up my things, which I’ve exploded all over the room. But instead of rushing I decide to take a bath- I’m not very good at doing things in order today.
I check out of the room just as Mt. Shasta’s 4th of july parade is starting. The sidewalks are crammed with hundreds of white people in flag colors, eating giant snowcones and clutching bottles of water, and the floats are beginning to tool along the empty street. A firetruck blaring its horn, a battered pickup covered in flags, the local cheerleaders all in a line. A truck pulling a boat pulling little kids on innertubes rigged up on wheels. Tractors with american flag streamers, veterans, a “sexy uncle sam”- she’s wearing an american flag onesie, red white and blue knee-high vinyl boots, and twirling an american flag parasol. It’s all very wholesome. I find a booth selling tacos (the good simple kind- warm corn tortilla, meat, onions, cilantro) and buy four of them. I eat them while more wholesome, patriotic-in-a-vaguely-hostile-way floats go past and the families squint into the sun, eating their icecream cones. I feel like there should be an NRA float. A tea party float? An anti-immigrant float?
Then I see the last float. A huge black bus has been rigged with a giant purple unicorn horn. A banner on the side says “UNICORN LOVE”. The bus is blasting classic rock and there are a bunch of people on top, wearing bikinis and wrapped in american flags, dancing.
The queers. God I love the queers.
Everyone is cheering for the party bus. And then, behind the party bus but in front of the cop cars that bring up the rear of the parade, is Big Sauce.
I didn’t even know that Big Sauce was in town.
Big Sauce is his own float. Here is what he wears on the trail, every day- super short american flag running shorts (stripes on one leg, stars on the other), american flag athletic shirt (found at walmart) that features a giant eagle, busted straw cowboy hat, american flag sunglasses, american flag gaiters. He’s wearing his pack and carrying his trekking poles and he fits right in. He belongs in the float. And then I see that Chance and Mack and Wildo are with him, and I run out and join them. As we cross the “finish line” of the parade, the announcer is calling out the name of each float.
“And what is this, the PCT class of 2014?” She says, as we pass in front of her.
“Thru hikers!” Shout a couple of bystanders, and they high-five us.
Success. Total success.
Everyone goes to the bar, including the people from the party bus, and I try and hang and have fun, even though I can’t stop pooping and what I want more than anything is a place to lay down and go to sleep. Twigg just rolled into town, everyone is here! The people from the party bus are up from the Bay and Santa Cruz- they’re wearing wild psychadelic red white and blue, have assymetrical, half-shaved haircuts, and they’ve fashioned american flags into capes. I can tell that, since I’ve grown my hair out, they no longer recognize me as one of their own. This makes me sad, but I can’t base my whole identity anymore out of trying to appear gay. I just want to look like a woman, you know?
The town is wild today- noisey, clogged with traffic, stuffed with people. Everyone is drunk, everyone wants to stealth camp tonight and hike out in the morning. I decide to hitch to the trail and go just a couple of miles- I want to be back in the forest, in our special habitat. I want to rest.
I get a ride to the trail from a retired commercial fisherman named Monty who lives in Dunsmuir and made a living, for a little while, reading Tarot. It’s hot and muggy at the trailhead, and the 3 mile hike involves some climbing. Hiking feels so hard- I’m weak and woozy, and I have to stop once to poop. It’s so good to be back in the forest, though, where it’s soft and quiet and shady. I make it to the stream where Twinkle is camped- he said he’d wait for me tonight since I’m sick. As for the others, they hike out in the morning. I hope I can keep up with the group this section, although I have a feeling it’s going to be rough. Yep, this section is going to be pretty damn rough.