Today I woke up in a flurry of anxiety. It was the day that Ant would be leaving me and the trail to rest for a few days at a town two stops down the road.
We were in Motel 6 (with a swimming pool!) right near the bus/train station, but had struggled the night before because Greyhound simply would not let us buy tickets — they did not understand (or, rather, did not care) that we could not print anything out. Luckily, my new hiking partner, Rainbow Dash, was staying at a wonderful woman’s house and she could print out the ticket to that godforsaken bus. I can’t un-recommend them enough!
We divided up our shared gear, carefully packed up our freshly laundered clothes, and headed to the gas station (the only place within walking distance) to get breakfast. When we got back, I exploded into a sea of tears, finally feeling all of the sadness I’ve been setting aside for action the last few days.
Ant held me, letting it all wash over us both, dividing the power of our fears and disappointments in two. It got easier, and we made a plan — if I hate hiking alone, I’ll simply head on up the trail.
Tonight, sleeping in my brand new bivvy for the first time, alone, I am tearful again. The breeze is gently playing in the wisps of grass beside me, the clouds are dancing with the mountains across the valley from me, and all of Palm Springs and the windmills are laid out below me, blinking and winking in the night. There is only one person I would really like to share it with, and, melodramatic as it sounds (not even a day apart), I have an Ant shaped hole in my life tonight.
I have never been the type to get homesick, but I guess I never knew I had a home until Ant showed me they can be flesh and blood.
Today was a beautiful hike, and Rainbow Dash (RD) is filled with incredible, widely vast knowledge. The hike meandered up out of the valley and up into the foothills of the mountain we will climb tomorrow. The climb was just long enough to be hard, and ended right when I had had enough, and then we peered down into a beautiful green valley. We walked and talked — RD spins yarn, got frostbite, lived in Italy, clicker trained her horse at 13. I am perpetually fascinated at the breadth and depth of her interests.
In the early evening we came to the biggest water we have seen yet — a beautiful creek with rushing cool water that sprung up out of white rock and lush (for the desert) vegetation. We soaked our feet and our dinners (I am stoveless for this stretch) and felt magnificent. Then that wave came over me, the uncomfort of knowing I don’t get to share the moment with my partner in crime.
And then it passed as we passed into yet another little valley, the setting sun shining light against the brown grass and short brush like a woman in a jewelry ad showing off gleaming stones against cool, smooth skin. It was perfect. I was a little ways back, and the majesty filled me up with the wonder of the world.