I never meant to zero this early in the trail. Some of us are havin some foot pain and we’re not tryin to get injured in the first week (it’s a long trail, as they say) and so we’re taking a day off. I mean I guess I could hike out by myself but these dudes are my friends and excellent company and what’s that thing that people say on their deathbeds- that after it’s all said and done, our relationships with others are the only thing that matters? Something like that.
In the morning I discover that I’m in a wonderful place called “Silver City”. Silver City is a small old town of bright adobe storefronts and chirping birds and women in turquoise jewelry driving sun-faded pickups. There are crumbling bakeries and a letterpress shop and shops selling “curiosities”. Somehow this town seems neither gentrified nor sterilizied, like how Ashland, where I was living last winter, sometimes felt, but as though it’s populated by desert mystics and destitute hippies who hunt javelina and make their living reading palms. I eat breakfast with a hiker named Kevin and Handy Andy aka Andrew Bentz, who I hiked with for a few days during PCT 2014 and who also happens to hold the current self-supported speed record for the John Muir Trail. Handy Andy is rollin through town like a tumbleweed and we eat at a ramshackle taco cart in the shade of some dusty trees whose names I do not know. I slept bad in the dark motel and I’m hella bleary, but no matter. Here I am. I exist.
All day we walk around town, eat, buy this and that. Boring zero-day stuff. Our hotel is old, four stories and definitely haunted. I lie in bed, read a book and listen to the birds chirp. There is chocolate coconut bliss from the co-op. I condition my hair. Talk to hikers I haven’t yet met. Life’s small pleasures.
Before bed we watch a stressful show about night-shift ER workers and then I lie awake in the dark, sleepless. I think about what Handy Andy said when I told him I could never do thirties on the CDT right out the gate, like he is.
“Of course you can,” he said to me.
I think about that.
Photos on instagram.