I’m awake at 5 a.m. when a bird starts singing outside our motel window. It’s a magic crystal vortex Sedona bird, exalting in the clear pure light of another miraculous dawn. The bird is barefoot, with white dreadlocks, linen clothing, carries a woven basket of wilted purslane. Muffy shuts the window against the bird but I’m awake now, thinking about the end of the world, the way capitalism engenders isolation, the poverty of wealth. Breakfast is gf cookies from the discount bin at the health food store, two hardboiled eggs, motel room coffee, a banana from Muffy. I pick my phone up off the carpet, still groggy, and open the wordpress app. We lay in bed naked with the heat blasting and the curtains drawn for four hours… writing our blogs. Fingers shaking from too much caffeine. The thrilling life of a writer. We’re fucking when the housekeeper walks in. Shit. I forgot about checkout.
Six days of food won’t fit in my pack. Not “six days of food”, but six ACTUAL days of food. This is an irrefutable fact. The math of embodiment. I’m sitting behind the post office under a tree with Muffy, crushing my chips, which is never not heartbreaking. Mostly what we carry is food, it turns out. Maybe if I jenga my food bag a different way. This is ridiculous. I cannot close my pack. Oh well.
My friend Drew texts us. Drew lives in a house next to the highway that is a shack built onto the side of a tiny, old trailer. It’s the smallest punkhouse you’ve ever seen. There’s a rack for bikes, a zine library and a beehive collective poster. Drew has a chickenwire fence around his tiny yard and when we show up he’s pulling wild mustard. His cattle dog, Roscoe, leaps to attention when Drew says “Lizard?”. Drew has been running ultramarathons and winning them.He gives us mango lacroix and tells us about a powerline cut on our route that we can take as a shortcut.
Caity, my other friend in Sedona, offers to let us stay at her place tonight, even though her place, like Drew’s, is too small to host people without us seriously being in her way. The motels are all booked tonight- we were gonna camp at the trailhead. People are so generous!
Caity picks us up in an old subaru she bought for $600. The back window is busted out. She considered replacing it and then thought- why bother. Caity leads us down the stairs on the side of a motel… to a small secret room, a studio apartment built from what used to be the motel’s office, but which is now Caity’s home. There’s a fridge, sink and two burner stove, a bathroom and a tiny couch. Above the couch is a loft for sleeping. Caity has maybe five posessions. Most of them are bikes and bikepacking gear. Next winter she’s bikepacking across Mexico.
Caity turns on music to psych herself up for her bartending shift and then rolls her bike, which is neon with yellow splatters, out the door, headed to work.
Muffy realizes she’s lost her spork. She thinks. Better get a new one just in case. Except there’s nowhere to buy a spork at this hour. All there are are t-shirt shops and evening crystal emporiums where you can pay to have a photo of your aura taken. We walk amongst the tourists in the last of the light, dipping in and out of stores. The air feels magic here. What people want to buy, really, is this magic air. What people want is to go back in time and stop the chain of events that set this all in motion. I palm a spoon at a restaurant for Muffy, hoping to impress her. It works. This is why we have so much fun together- we are both easily pleased.
Back at Caity’s we check our overloaded packs one last time, and then we wilt. Tomorrow we hike.