Birds pooping on my sleeping bag woke me. Plop, plop, plop. I wondered what the noise was, then faded back into dreamtown.
I woke again at 8am and found myself hungry, really hungry.
A friend, Shotgun, I haven’t seen since Kennedy Meadows — some 900 miles ago — came back into my life. We talked Richard the Third, House of Leaves, Walden. It was delicious to have a literary discussion. It was decadent to have higher thoughts than pain and poop.
And then it was off to breakfast, where Felix and I stuffed ourselves silly with coffee and pancakes and eggs and bacon. I ate and ate and felt better than ever, having a friend to chat with over a real breakfast.
We had to wait forever for Felix’s box (the post office is never open when you want it to be), and I laughed when I saw “State of Jefferson” painted directly under “U.S. Post Office.” They are serious in these lands.
Shotgun refused to stop asking leading questions of the RV park host, who had an incredible habit of patronizing both of us (even though Shotgun is a man, and thus should be treated with respect) as he rambled on about socialism and the welfare state. He even managed to throw in how ridiculous the idea of privilege is, just to round out his philosophy.
When I finally got myself out of the one sided conversation, it was time to hit the road. We had picked a dirt road instead of the PCT — it cut off a few miles and a few thousand feet of elevation gain. Score! We even got a ride for two miles.
We reached the top of the long, steady climb and encountered the homeless caretaker of the camping and water source at the top. I felt waves of relief rush over me — I am so insanely lucky. I don’t have a debilitating mental illness and have enough family to rely on that I can be close to sure that I will always have a roof over my head.
Speaking of insane privilege, I kept thinking of the high level all of us hikers have — you have to be in a certain state of society to have the luxury of quitting your job and play at hoboing. It is easy to leave all your worldly possessions behind when you know you have something to come back to. Without some security, this trip would be impossible.
We finally found camp at this beautiful spot on a ridge line. We set up camp early for us — 8pm. We were just in time to both silently move to the edge of the ridge and take in the reds and golds and pinks and purples of the sunset. We were quiet. We were awed.