Day Forty Four

Today's miles: 2
Total miles: 654

Our little group of six was now down to three. Papa Bear was still behind us, taking some shorter mileage in order to hike with his son. Rotisserie was spending time with her family this week, and Focus's hiking pace was faster than ours, so he took off early this morning to continue his journey to Kennedy Meadows.

Katie, Sansei and I were the only ones left, and we had plans in Walker Pass, too. My good friend Ross from college was coming to pick us up and take us to his house for the day. He and his husband Eric arrived at the campsite around 8:00 and drove us twenty minutes to their hometown in Ridgecrest. It had been so long since we had been in a car that the experience was euphoric. We rolled down the windows, blasted the music, and realized that the desert mountains surrounding us looked almost beautiful when we didn't have to walk through them.

When we got to the house, Ross asked if we needed anything, but the greatest thing we could think to ask for was this: "ice water?" We marveled at air conditioning, and outlets to charge our phones, and a little floor fan that blew cold air in our faces. We were told to sit on the couches, but we knew how dirty we were and opted to sit on the floor. Ross brought us spare sets of clothes to wear while we did laundry and gave us towels for showers. It was a marvelous thing. Ross and Eric both found it amusing that we were so easily delighted by such small conveniences.

We were told that Eric's colleagues were having a pool party this afternoon, and did we want to attend? We did, of course. It didn't start until 2:00, and though it was only 10:00 in the morning at the time, we were already starving for lunch. We ordered Thai food, Ross made us some delicious mixed drinks, and we put in the movie Galaxy Quest, which had us all cracking up for a few hours. Sansei and I love quoting movies on trail, and since we both knew this one by heart, we were spouting off our favorite lines all afternoon.

After we had showered, done laundry, and finished the movie, Eric drove Sansei, Katie and I to the grocery store to do our resupply. Then we went to the pool party, where we joined his friends splashing in warm water that was somehow still delightfully refreshing. We chatted with his friends as they asked us about the PCT, feeling very proud to say, "we've walked 650 miles to be here."

We swam until 5:00 and then Ross had to be at work, so we went back to their house to take naps and watch movies while Ross was gone. He returned at 10:00 and we decided that we should try to get some more miles in today, so we packed up and Ross brought us back to the trailhead closer to midnight. It was the latest we had stayed awake in a long time and sleep was slowly dragging at our eyelids. We gave Ross hugs and said thank you and goodbye, and then began hiking north.

The trail was uphill, of course. And even though it was pitch dark outside, the heat had not abated. It had been 110 degrees in Ridgecrest today, and it must have still been in the 90s on the trail, even at this hour. We dragged ourselves up the hill, avoiding scorpions and wiping sweat from our faces. We only made it two miles before it was 1:00 am and we were exhausted. We found the nearest flat spot to the trail and cowboy camped there for the night. I barely remember changing into my sleep clothes before I passed out.