Today was a pop song. The colors were brighter with brilliant greens, neon pinks, endless shades of warm browns. I was floating along, light in my new shoes, like clouds beneath my feet.
I woke up at 6.30 next to Ant in our tent, which after a month of bivvying, feels like luxury accommodations. I snuggled back down and slept into 8am, horribly late for hiking standards. We laid around for another hour, eating breakfast in bed, listening to love songs, wriggling back under the covers.
Eventually we had to get up, stretching awake, yawning our lungs out. We slowly packed everything away, walked the .11 miles back to the trail, and hugged goodbye. Unlike last time, we only had three days to be apart.
I walked off into the woods, listening to the mix that Ant made for me, feeling on top of the world. It was a beautiful day, a few fluffy clouds in the sky. There was no rain, no hail, no sign of frosty temperatures.
I walked through the Desolation Wilderness, beautiful lakes at every turn. There was granite all around at some places, reminding me of the last 500 miles. And then in others there were wild, tall trees, some windswept with every needle pointing in a single direction.
My feet didn’t hurt. I had three inches of insanely comfy foam under my toes. It was glorious. I had 24 miles to walk and 3,000 feet up. And throughout the day, they were happy.
I ran down hills, my pack bumping against my back, and the cushion of the shoes shielding my knees and feet from discomfort. I pounded down on rocks, feeling nothing under my toes. It was as if I was rediscovering the joy of hiking.
After I had listened to all of my love songs, I turned on Peter Pan and was transported to my childhood, filled with obvious truths, tinkling fairies, and enough magic to help anyone fly.
The climb up to Dick’s Pass (“hehehe” says the 12 year old in me) became a portal into Neverland. The hill down after, leading to pristine alpine lakes, was my flight there (second star on the right and straight on till morning). The hours and hours afterwards allowed me to meet all the characters rounding the island, all hunting one another.
When I was too tired to pay attention, I put back on the love mix and let my mind wander into all those misty corners it hardly ever turns to. The last hour, long past when I wanted to keep walking, I pressed myself into a near run, high on the precious deliriousness of a crush.
It is wonderful to feel so giddy about someone I have known so long. It is perfect to be sweet on this trail, even after 1,100 miles and nearly three months.
I am hopelessly in love with life.