I began the morning late, sleeping in and then luxuriating over my LTE service. I looked at the weather — I would have a full day of rain. It was supposed to start in half an hour.
I packed up hurriedly, and the rain started as I was heading out. Yuck.
I put on my Agatha Christie novel and shut my negativity off, submersing myself in the mystery of it all.
Then the hail started. It was freezing. My hands stopped working. I couldn’t hold my trekking poles. I lost the trail. My feet, dried a little over night, became soaked. I felt them turning white and unbelievably cold.
I didn’t mind too much. I was hiking uphill, faster and faster to try and get warm. I was listening to the jarring British voice tell me the story. It was enthralling, all consuming.
The rest of the day was the same — grey and wet and cold and filled with the story. It was heaven and hell, rolled into one.
I walked and didn’t think about anything but the story, trying to displace myself from the miserable surroundings.
Finally, after miles and miles, I came upon a road with an information building. The building was closed, but the porch was open, occupied by three friendly hikers. It was dry, and I was very wet.
I sat down to dinner, drying out my deathly white feet, and ended up staying for the night. I talked with the guys about New York and the Pacific Northwest and making up stories about the passing cars and ads for Starbucks. We talked about the magic of camaraderie on the trail, in life on the move.
A heap of other hiker trash arrived, and the seven of us all set up our pads and bags on the cold concrete, drifting off into dry sleep and dreams of South Lake Tahoe, only 14 miles ahead.