Day 108: The Climb

I woke up hot. The sun was already baking us in our tent, and a great hunger was rumbling deep inside me. Food, coffee, hiking: my menu for the day.

We walked down the street to the adorable little coffee shop and I was served something new: a Cuban espresso. It was a super short shot (10 seconds, instead of 24, I was told) with raw sugar mixed in. It was sweet and hot and delicious. It was espresso.

We watched the hippies roam through the shop, letting our phones charge, drinking and eating. One of them asked the barista to turn down the loud music only to get on his phone and give impossibly loud directions and talk about soul connections. Boomerang made such large rollings of the eyes I thought they would roll right out of their sockets. Hypocrisy is not permissible in our lives. 

 And then it was off to pack. I lost my mind over a pair of lost socks that turned up right when I had given up hope, resigning myself to one pair for the rest of my life. With so few possessions, possessions I’ve painstakingly weighed and packed and used every single day, losing something is a serious offense.

And then I was on trail, sad to leave B but also (strangely, after my week of misery) happy to be back on the trail. I felt well fed and ready to take on the climb: 6,000 feet.

I moved slowly through wooded switchbacks. The trees gave way to deserty scrub and I was climbing in the afternoon sun in the open. But climb I must, and climb I did. 

 When I finally got to the top I found myself stunned. I was higher than the gorgeous, ragged rocks that made up the massive peaks around me. I was so high I could see over their jagged edges to Mount Shasta, softened by distance and pink sky. I was so high the trees were sparse and I was given a view of everything around me — distant mountains rolling out toward the horizons in all directions.

I was awed.

And it was cool. The temperature was so much cooler at 6,200 feet than at the 2,000 I woke at that I had to put on my puffy for dinner. And I am wrapped up tight in my sleeping bag for tonight.

I am happy to be at home: among the clouds.