Today we took a nero. That’s thru hiker talk for near zero — a rest day where you still hike a bit.
Avry has been battling a sinus infection since we got on the trail, and it was high time we did something about it. Mouth breathing isn’t conducive to long hikes through dry conditions, believe it or not.
We woke up early and packed quickly, leaving the warmth of our tent for the freezing outside world. Luckily, we had 1,000 feet of elevation right away to warm up the blood.
We moved through huge scrubby brush that lay long shadows across the path and us into a meadow and then trees. Real trees! Pine and oak surrounded us, bathing us in their shadows as the sun tried its hardest to brush red on our skin.
I never realize I miss home until I am in the midst of its very image. The grass and huge branches covering the sky felt just like my sleeping bag — warm and incredibly safe; the awaited arrival of the end of the day.
After basking in the comfort, we moved right into town. We were met with new and old (very relatively) friends and bottomless coffee and frittata! What a welcome!
At the table next to ours in the adorable small town diner that is the same in every tiny American place sat a thru hiker from last year. I naively asked what was so stressful about town days, about to set out on my first.
“There is nothing to do but laundry, food, and showers. You can make them as stressful as you want,” he said through his thick, thru hiker’s beard.
I set about on my rest day to do just that.
Laundry, you see, takes an hour by hand. And nothing is ever really, fully cleaned (I can tell by the thick dark water left behind). Then there is a mail drop to pick up, food to sort, and your entire bag to unpack, spread haphazardly about the entire motel room, and pack back up. There are blogs to write, postcards to pen, and people to call.
I think I much prefer hiking. There are only two ways to go, and the path is always clear. There is even time for naps.