My alarm goes off before I’ve had enough sleep. I stayed up chatting with Sirius and writing my blog, and I already know, as I run my hands through my salty, greasy hair, that I’m gonna be wrecked today. It was worth it tho- seeing friends on trail is so fun!
We have six thousand feet of climbing this morning, up to the elevation of the oaks and then beyond, into the ponderosas. It’s hot and then it’s freezinghot, we’re sitting in a sandy arroyo eating watermelon that Sirius gave us (thank you Sirius!) with the tajin I bought at the circle K in Oracle.
We’re walking up the steep trail, I’m breathing heavy as the air grows thinner. The higher we go the more demoralized I become- I’m slow because I didn’t sleep enough. When I consistently don’t sleep enough, I can’t recover well. Instead of getting stronger, I just get tired. To sleep enough I have to get to camp faster, but I can’t go faster because I didn’t sleep enough. Shade has to get to Patagonia, where he’s finishing, by midday on the 23rd. Alan and I have plane tickets back to Anchorage a few days after that. I need to hike 25 miles a day, every day, for the next six days. These are not fast miles.
My thoughts go round and round as I climb the switchbacks up Micah mountain. I feel like a failure. I hate being the slow one. The one everyone has to wait on. Why can’t my body just do what I want it to do today?
I’m in a dark place when I reach the top of the six thousand foot climb, a stunningly beautiful, softly lit ponderosa forest, one of the best on this trail so far. I sit in a patch of sun on the pine needled forest floor and let the vibes of the big trees envelope me. I cry some. Then I keep walking.
We have lunch at Manning camp, an old log cabin and some picnic tables in these beautiful pondies. We eat the bagged kale salads Sirius brought for us (thank you again Sirius!!), fritos, half a dozen kinds of gummies. Next we’ll drop down five thousand feet, back to the low desert. I tell Alan and Shade that I feel like hell today and I can only go ten more miles, to a wash with pools that have “lots of algae”. Even then, I’ll get to camp after dark, I’ll be cutting it close again with sleep.
The afternoon never really improves. The last thing I want to do is walk, and yet I do. I eat snacks, admire the sparkling granite of this mountain, imagine unpleasant scenarios.
As the sun sets I get the dregs of some energy and for the first time all day I feel like I’m really moving- flying down the chunky trail in the dark, saguaros sillhoutted in my headlamp. We reach the wash at 7 pm, and although the pool of water is shallow, yellow and full of waterbugs, it tastes great, just a little like stone. We pitch our shelters directly in the wash. I hustle through dinner, feel like I’m racing myself to bed. At last, I get to sleep.
Day 37 of this AZT blog is written and ready to go- I’ll post it (and its corresponding tiktok video, which you can see here) when this fundraiser reaches $14,400. Thanks so much to everyone who’s contributed so far!!
I’m using this AZT blog to raise funds for Trans Queer Pueblo, a rad org that provides support to trans and queer people seeking asylum and/or in immigration detention along the US/Mexico border. Here is the fundraiser– it was at about $9k when I first posted it, let’s see if we can reach their $15k goal! For every $150 raised, I’ll post another blog post. And thank you!