I am unbelievably exhausted.
The majority of the other hikers here are heading out today, last push to the border. The weather report for the next week could go either way, but it is absolutely perfect today. I watch the perfect blue sky wheel across the mountains and the lake from inside the little hotel. J goes out to explore or do whatever, I do the laundry and call my mother from the payphone. (A payphone! When was the last time I used one of these??) Then I sit on a couch and read a book from the shelf in the lounge – some YA novel about kids with cancer – from start to finish. I don’t love it that much but I cry anyway.
Not much left to go, on this trip. It’s sort of hard to believe it will be over, although I’m ready for it. It’s time to move to the next thing. I’m very tired but I suppose tomorrow I will just keep walking, like we always do.
We cook hiker box mystery soup on hiker box gas canisters in our room for dinner. It’s not that good, but I’m not that hungry. “I have to admit, I was sort of shocked to look in the mirror last night,” I say to J. “I see my legs and feet every day but I hadn’t really looked at the rest of myself. My legs look fine, but I’m sort of scrawny every else.” J leans over and taps me hard on my sternum. “Hey! Cut that out.”
“No meat! Your upper body is nothing but bones.”
“Your sternum isn’t supposed to have ‘meat’ on it.”
“I can count your ribs from the back.”
“Yeah, there is that.”
We go through our packs, getting them ready for tomorrow. This is our last resupply. All the detritus and odds and ends I’ve been hanging on to for who-knows-how-many miles – not much left to save it for. Some people are really good at keeping their pack streamlined, but I have accumulated things the same way I do at home, small whatchamacallits and thingamabobs squirreling their way into pockets and crannies. I find a five-inch tear in the back of my shorts but figure it’s ok because my underpants are black too. You probably can’t even tell.
100 miles left.