CDT day 88: george clooney and captain picard

July 31
Mileage 29
1634 miles hiked

I wake up- is it dawn? I have to pee. I wriggle out of my sleeping bag and pull myself out of the tarp. It’s not dawn, it’s the moon! Oh moon, where have you been? How did you get full so fast? The way time goes by on the trail… how many weeks do we even have left? I can’t think about it.

I wake again to actual dawn, warm and cozy because there was zero condensation last night. It’s cold again this morning, but not too cold. Normal cold for 10,400 feet? Yay July!

I’m sore all over today. My arms, chest, shoulders… I don’t actually use those parts of my body very much out here and climbing knapsack col was a full-body experience. I guess I’m an epic weakling, because today I can barely bend my arm back to reach my water bottle.

I have reception for a few minutes on a ridge this morning and I get a message from Pox of the Pox and Puss podcast- I hadn’t heard of the show before (only because I’m not much of a podcast listener) but it’s about the appalachian trail thru-hiking experience and thru-hiking in general, and I make a mental note to download some episodes when I’m in town. Apparently Pox asked some people on facebook which trail book they thought should be made into a movie, and a few of them mentioned my book. Standing on the ridge reading my email and learning that people like my book in this way is incredibly soothing, especially since I just got a super-hateful amazon review wherein the reviewer calls me a slut and an idiot and says that I have the IQ of a jar of mayonnaise. Writing memoir means that people don’t just attack the book, they attack you. It’s weird and awful and I’m trying to grow thick skin about it but some days it’s still really fucking hard. Women are also the subject of online bullying much moreso than men- every woman blogger/writer knows what I’m talking about. Online bullies want to tear women down, and to put them in their place. This is the world we live in and sometimes it really fucking sucks.

I am under no illusion that a movie will ever actually be made out of my book, my book being self-published and, to be honest, a little bit boring in the middle (sorry about that folks) but Spark and I joke about what actors would play who as we walk. We decide that I would be played by George Clooney, Spark would be played by Patrick Stewart, Beyonce would play Track Meat and Instigate would play herself. And Ramen, of course, would be played by Reese Witherspoon.

Today is more gentle than yesterday but still there are small steep passes devoid of switchbacks, difficult tread, I lose the trail a couple of times and have to bushwack… I imbibe caffeine and ibuprofen. This section is hard.

Tonight we camp at Billy Lake, a clear gunmetal water at the base of Texas Pass, our first climb on the Cirque of Towers alternate. We’ll go over a bunch of steep high granite passes on this alternate tomorrow, and it will be beautiful. It will also be our last arduous high-alpine day before we drop down towards the great divide basin, wherein the sun will roast us and the wind will beat us on our flat dirt roadwalk out of Wyoming. At camp I wade into the cool waters of billy lake as the sun drops, washing the dirt and dust from the scratches, heat rash, and horsefly bites on my legs. I feel dirtier in this section than I have in a while- the hot sun with no shade, the long climbs, the fact that I haven’t washed my clothes in over a week… what a glorious feeling it will be to take a shower in Lander the day after tomorrow.

Photos on instagram