Mile 2112.5 to mile 2145
I finally fall asleep at 2 a.m. and then I’m wide awake at 5:38, the first rays of yellow light spreading across the ridge. I close my eyes, try to fall asleep again, but I know that I can’t. I hear footsteps and then Mac’s face, leaning over peering into my tent.
“Carrot?” He says.
Oh my god! Friends! Chance shows up, then Rice Krispies, and Guthrie. Jr. Sr. and Twinkle. I am so happy to see them I feel euphoric.
All morning I hike with friends- I’m exhausted and my feet are aching, but I don’t even care. They fill me in on everything that’s happened since I’ve been gone, tell me about Bearclaw and Dirtmonger’s wedding, yesterday at Timberline lodge. I’m sad I missed it- Bearclaw and Dirtmonger are both beautiful people, fellow hikers, and they got married right on the trail. Dream wedding! If only I could’ve been in two places at once.
In afternoon the exhaustion starts to hit me. 3.5 hours of sleep, how far can I go on that? Pretty far, it turns out. We pound down the trail to the Eagle Creek alternate, work our way through the lush tangled rainforest, growing more tangled and dense as we drop down in elevation. All the way down to 100 feet, the lowest point on the PCT! Down, down into the jungle. Big-leaf maples heavy with epiphytes, huge logs melting into the earth. And then eagle creek, rushing aquamarine water, loamy campsites dappled with shadow. And then there’s everyone, down a brambly sidetrail in a clearing next to the creek, lounging on their bedrolls, eating little pots of food. I strip off my shirt and jump in the creek, there’s a deep stone pool, shockingly cold. Afterwards I feel better, centered, I sit dripping on my sleeping pad knifing open a can of coconut milk that Woody gave me. The others are playing a word game, watching the light fade. I’m so exhausted I can barely focus. Just dinner, I think, trying to motivate. Then you can sleep.
Photos on instagram.