From Tuolomne Meadows to meadow with rock
“Wow, that’s quite a total!” Exclaims the man behind the cash register. J and I have opted to resupply at the Tuolomne Meadows store instead of mailing ourselves a box. It ain’t Wal-Mart prices, but it’s ok. We’re buying 150 miles of food – seven days if we’re fast, eight days more realistically. Estimating a dollar a mile works pretty well to keep our bellies full, but we’ve only rung up $250 of groceries at the little store. The cashier might be impressed, but that leaves us fifty bucks short… We look at each other.
“It’s a lot, but I don’t know if it’s enough,” J replies.
“Let’s just go repack it and see how it looks,” I tell him.
Overwhelmed by the piles of food that we divvy up, we do not buy any more food. We have to carry this mountain of pop tarts, mac n’cheese, crackers, candy bars. Surely it’s enough?
It’s a gray, drizzly day. Matches my attitude. We sit at a picnic table with some other PCT hikers, not hiking.
We’re approached by a man in a sweater, with a beautiful handlebar mustache. He’s an artist, taking portraits of people of Yosemite. Today, that’s us. He lets us pose however we want, and I lean on my trekking poles, look straight at the photographer as he ducks under his little black curtain to click the shutter on his old fashioned 4×5. Every cell in my body feels self aware and tingly with the force of the full attention of another human being. When was the last time I was looked at so completely? To be seen as I am, or as I wish I would be?
Since we’re already holding our trekking poles, packs on, shoes tied, standing on the trail even, it must be time to go. Is thru-hiking turning into a chore? An exercise in self punishment?
We walk through the gray day into the meadow, smooth gray domes populating the horizon, smooth, gray water running through the field. We come to the waterfalls before Glen Aulin, think of the Davids. J falls asleep on a rock, I lean on my pack.
The Grand Canyon of Yosemite is opening before us but we take a hard right turn to the north. “I hiked here with my dad once,” J mentions. “We camped at a meadow with this incredible giant rock. We sat up there on it, watched a big, beautiful owl fly below us.” The giant rock appears before us, size of a house. It’s drizzling again. We planned on going another five miles, but we set up the tarp behind the house-boulder. Home again.