Mile 863 to mile 883
A lone coyote calls out in the night next to the lake. Yip yip yip! When I wake it’s cold, my bag is covered in condensation, and my injinjis are frozen. Putting on frozen toe socks, I think, as ease them onto my feet. Now there’s a new sensation.
I’m cold. Cold all day and I can’t get warm. Sunbeams, hiking, my down jacket. Nothing can warm me. Walking through the forest, stopping to rest in little clearings, drinking stream water. You know you’re a tired thru-hiker, I think, when you sit down to eat a snack in a patch of sun and you almost fall asleep. I’ve got to make it, though. I’ve just got to make it to Mammoth Lakes.
My phone is dying, so I don’t take any pictures. I’ve got the beginnings of chafe, but I don’t have the time or the energy to try and take care of it. Little bits of my tooth crumble off throughout the day. I’m bleeding, and hungry, and dreaming of vegetables. I’m thinking about the motel room I’ll get. I walk through clear burbling streams. I balance on logs. I march towards the pass. Another day, another pass. I’m sick from alititude, sick from everything. I turn my brain off.
The Sierras are hard for me, I think. I am drunk from the beauty but they are hard for me. And I’ve just got to make it.
Those days when you’re tired and you’d like to be in town but you’re not- you’re way out in the middle of the woods, far from everywhere. The only way to get out of the woods is to walk.
So I walk. In the evening I camp with Egg and Ole below the pass and lay in my sleeping bag, dreaming of heat. The hot powerful sun, the desert. Ay, the desert! I miss the desert. I wonder what Northern California is like. No-one talks about Northern California. They talk about the desert, the Sierras, racing through Oregon, the rain in Washington. But what of that five hundred miles before Oregon? Maybe it will be beautiful, I think, as I snuggle down in my sleeping bag. Maybe it will be hot and dry and perfect.
I’ve just got to make it.