Day 50: Trail Trials

It is 12.35pm. I am airing out my blisters and counting my Ritz crackers. I can have five today with the 80 calorie packet of tuna and two whole mayonnaise packets I already ate. I eat them fast. I want more, so I put them away.

I have another day of hiking left before Kennedy Meadows, and somehow, Rainbow Dash and I are both low on food. Really low. We are hungry all the time — and I’m not just being dramatic. (Okay, I am a little, but hot damn am I hungry!)

It became a little alarming a few days ago. Casually chatting, I told Dash I was running a little low on snacks. I thought that maybe, this time, 500 miles in, I might have packed the right amount of food. I usually pack far too much. 

 Yesterday we had sounded the alarms, rationing food and fantasizing about it constantly. I can have these five snacks, and tomorrow I’ll have those snacks, and the day after is all trail mix.

Today I was just hungry.

I went to bed hungry. I woke up hungry. And now here I am, all tucked into a little hobo palace going to bed hungry again.

We played a game where we listed an item of food for every letter of the alphabet that we wished we could eat in Kennedy Meadows.

“Veggie burger,” Dash said, brimming over with joy and desperation.

“Veggies, comma, grilled,” I replied, wondering how I could get my hands on fresh veggies, let alone a grill. 

 We spent the entire day climbing. We walked 21.35 miles and climbed 6,165 feet of elevation. We did it all on 2,000 calories (if we were even that lucky). That is amazing, if I do say so myself (and I did).

In the afternoon we were quiet, having made all our gentle complaints, aches and pains, and contents of our food bags known. We had spent 45 minutes creating a role playing game, which was just telling a story together. It was full of mummies and bats and intrigue. We had cracked all of our, “my mom packed the wrong trail mix,” jokes (a real quote from a real hiker that we love to use now). We had even commented on the weather:

“Oh! Look at those storm clouds.”

And, “Was that thunder?!”

We looked, and it was. As if the universe wanted to take the time to make our miserable hungry plight ridiculous (even though the universe has many more important things than us to deal with, and our hunger is ridiculous in its idiocy [we sure did choose to do this silly thing without enough food while millions actually are hungry]) or Archangel Michael was sick of me invoking him, it started to rain. 

 At first it was just a drop or two. Then it was a steady drizzle. Then it rained in earnest. We laughed at ourselves.

The rain quickly ended and we continued forging along, refusing to eat our precious snacks, and being a glum lot. Then it was after dinner and we got ready for a climb.

Just as we started our ascent, the rain came down. It was buckets. Buckets dumped from above, rainy sand flying in buckets from below. We laughed wildly!

What was this thing we were doing? Why would anyone do this? Are we totally dumb?

“It’s like a car wash!” I exclaimed, as the wet plants thwacked against our legs, pulling the dirt off little by little. Dash’s legs were streaked with grime, the rain doing a bad job at a shower.

We finally got to a flat spot and the rain stopped. We looked at each other and nodded. It was camp.

I set up my bivvy next to a bush, constructing a complicated, precarious shelter out of my strip of tyvek. My wet things are off, blisters are popped, a few spoonfuls of mashed potatoes are in my belly, and I am tucked into my sleeping bag, small, crinkly roof above my head.

“Hey Dash,” I said, “why does anyone do this again?”

We giggled, because no one should.