I slept badly. Despite the bed being soft, the pillows fluffy and the duvet soft – everything I had been dreaming about for the past few days – I don’t sleep well indoors. We went for breakfast and packed out a bagel for lunch. After a quick trip to the supermarket and the post office (Cool Breeze finally got his new shoes!) it was 11:30 and well past the time we should have left.
We checked out and stood outside the Best Western. Now what? We need to hitch back to the trail. So we went back to the Besty to get paper and a pen to make a sign. Cool Breeze made this sign and we were about to walk to the interstate to hitch.
Cool Breeze started talking to a guy charging his electric car. He offered us a ride! Another ride without really trying! He was really nervous about taking us as he had never picked up a hitchhiker, after asking if we were going to rob him he agreed to take us. His car was pretty cool, never been in an electric car before. It had a computer at the front! He is CEO of a new company called Eco Cabs based in Portland so go check it out if you’re in Portland and you need a cab and you want to help save the planet!
By 12 we were back at the trail head anticipating the 10 mile climb ahead of us. We were just formulating a plan for the day when a couple came along and asked us questions about the trail. We ended up talking to them for about an hour. They gave us a cold Monster drink. They went on their way and Legend and Halfslow pulled up in the motor home. Legend came and saw us and brought Gatorade and chairs so we stopped to talk to him for a bit. Then Dana came along! I haven’t seen Dana for so long and it was so good to see her. Her mum was coming to pick her up and take her to Shasta (I’m so envious of this!). When her mum arrived she brought her fresh raspberries and tortillas and guacamole which she shared with us. By then it was 3:30. When had been there 3.5 hours.
I miss home today. I miss my mum. I miss my dad. I wish I could go and give them a hug and come right back to the trail. I miss my friends. I miss being around people who love me. I feel bad because I never have time in towns to communicate with all the people I want to communicate with, and I never have time to reply to everyone’s messages. I am missing a family wedding this weekend and I wish I could be there. This is the first day on the trail I have really felt the pull of home – and that’s not because I don’t care about home, it’s because I know this trip has an end and I will see them all again soon enough. But, today was just one of those days where I really felt it.
Then, around 4:30 Halfslow hiked out! We decided that when the sun reached the gate it would be a good time to hike out and get the climb done. We were named the Mayor and Queen of soda creek. Here I am as queen. You could only proceed up the trail if you gave us trail magic.
Legend sang me a song. Legend. (Warning: contains the f word)
Then, Raingear and Chowder turned up driving legends modified truck, Gypsy. Now it was 5:00. Five and a half hours of sitting. They brought beers with them, and I was in the mood for drinking beer. I haven’t really drunk on the trail. I don’t think hiking in the heat and drinking mix too well for me so I’ve had the odd beer here and there when it’s been offered but I certainly haven’t been drunk. So today I ended up having 5 beers. Plus, when 5:30 rolled around and the sun had disappeared behind the ridge, the sunset club bar came out and we all had a shot of Captain Morgan’s.
With our shot we had a fortune cookie, mine was spot on…
Chowder, 26, spoke a little about why he was doing the trail. He lost his father to Brain cancer in November. It brought it all back to me that this was one of the big reasons I am doing the trail. So 26 year olds don’t lose their dads.
We carried on drinking beers, chatting, joking and laughing. A couple of other guys came by, one managed to be not sucked into the vortex and hiked out, but we got one sucked into the vortex and he came and drank beers with us. A few people came by the trail head throughout the day and asked us questions about the trail, or about my KT tape.
It got to 9pm and it had started to get dark, we were nearly persuaded to go back into town for food but we were strong and, after 9 hours, said we had to hike out. I signed the side of Gypsy and they went off into Shasta. Pony had already hiked out, we came across him 1/10 of a mile up the trail setting up camp so we joined him!
Today we only managed 1/10 of a mile. But it’s days like these I will remember for the rest of my life.
I got in my tent with a beer in my hand and a smile in my heart. It’s not abut getting to Canada it’s about how you get to Canada. It has been a day of highs – new friends, shared experience, freedom and joy – and lows, thought of loss, longing and pain. The mind is an amazingly intensely terrible thing.
I lay in my tent. Staring up at the stars through the mesh, the only thing protecting me from the blood sucking monsters outside. I listen to the sounds of the interstate just a sones throw away. Everyone in a hurry to get to their next destination.
I think about the past. I think about the present. I think about the future.
It’s so hot. I lay on my mat in my shorts and bra top. Tomorrow. I must try harder. And I will pray to whatever God you believe in that I don’t have a hangover.