Small creek to more of the same
As soon as my exhaustion has abated, I wake up. I feel tired and dirty and sticky. My crotch feels dirty and sticky. Unwashed. Itchy. I’m unbearably uncomfortable, and I toss and rearrange myself until J wakes up to. “What’s going on?” he murmurs.
“It’s two in the morning, but all I can think about is washing my crotch,” I whisper.
“Maybe washing your crotch at two in the morning is what you need to do then,” he mumbles back, turning over.
He’s right. I do need to. It’s been over a week since my last shower – a crotch-wash is definitely overdue. No time like the present, so I get up at two in the morning and do just that.
I feel much better, except I just poured freezing cold water all over my crotch and I’m wide awake. I’m too hot, then too cold. I finally fall back asleep, knowing that I’ll have no problem sleeping in the morning, when I’ll need to get out of bed…
Morning rolls around, dim and misty. “I had the craziest dream,” murmurs J, still half-asleep. “We were hiking the PCT, but it was in India, and Dan was there. We had to ford a giant river, so big we couldn’t see across it, with huge waves like the ocean. You were all, ‘ok’ and walked into it. I was like, ‘forget that!’
and went walking down the river to find a better place to cross. I found a little life-jacket someone had left for Buddy Backpacker. Dan went to the south and got a job in IT. You texted me: ‘I’m on the right SOBO side now’, which I took to mean you made it across.”
“Wow. That’s a pretty good thru-hiking dream.” We see 3d and CrackerJack walk past and figure it’s time to get up.
Even the trees close to us disappear in fog at their tops. I can’t decide if it’s fogging strongly or misting gently. Eventually I pull out my umbrella – I’ve been carrying it all this way for something.
Just five miles gets us to the Urich shelter, a cabin just off the trail. The door is open, and we can hear CrackerJack’s music playing. 3d and CrackerJack are sitting inside, drinking coffee. Great idea. We fire up our stove for some hot drinks as well, and pretty soon Smokey and Tintin have arrived and do the same. There’s a huge wood stove, and I want nothing more than to fire it up and stay in the shelter all day. Dreams are made to be ruined. I’m going to walk in the rain all day instead.
It transitions from mist to a fine rain, then stays there. We take a lunch break, huddled under our umbrellas. We pass Smokey and Tintin while later, rain dripping off their hat brims, sitting on the side of a gravel road, munching. What a dismal picture.
The umbrellas keep our heads and cores dry, but not much else. I’ve opted for shorts, my acrylic button up, and a wind shirt. Sometimes I’m cold, sometimes too hot. It’s tricky to control body temperature in this weather, although the main trick is to never stop. You just get cold when you stop. So we don’t stop.
Like a cruel trick, we pass the best huckleberry patch we’ve ever seen. For miles. The biggest, firmest, sweetest, most abundant huckleberries on the PCT, and it’s too cold to stop. We succumb to temptation every couple miles, eating huckleberries till our fingers are frozen and we’re chilled to the bone, but we still have to walk past so, so many.
I’ve been deep in my head all day, totally checked out from the trees and mist, or blueberries and mist. There are places I imagine have wonderful views, but which today are a uniform gray. “I think it would be hard for me to maintain a good attitude for more than a couple days of this,” I tell J.
“Yeah, I think it’s that way for everyone.”
We planned on stopping at 23 miles today, but the campsite there is awful – a dirt road and trash. We go on. At 25 miles we set up the tarp. At 23 miles I was tired, but 25 and I feel completely worked. However, it’s only six thirty and I’m in camp – something to be said for no breaks. Not bad for a late start. I hope it’s clear tomorrow.