Day 12 – July 15, 2014
Odometer Reading: 123.2 miles
Miles today: 12.20
Camped: McClure Meadow – elevation 9,730
Today’s Key to Success: Gentle Rain
I slept pretty well. Aidan did not.
His legs were killing him and he didn’t feel well at all.
We got up and set about trying to eat something. I was hungry, but it was hard to eat. Everything smelled like cheese vomit. Helluva diet. My shorts didn’t fit this morning anyway. Maybe I needed a diet.
A couple stopped us. “How far to MTR? We ran out of food yesterday. Is it true there is food in the hiker buckets?” Yep. You only gotta make it less than a mile. They didn’t look good. Too skinny. They smiled. Their teeth looked too big. The food at MTR was better than what we were carrying, I was sure of it. I didn’t offer them anything. I hoped they ate a lot when they got there.
Drank rotting-cheese-flavored-Gatorade at the bridge crossing, taking us into the amazing Kings Canyon National Park. Aidan asked me to please stop talking about cheese vomit. He was aware of the situation and sick of me pointing it out.
My fingers were starting to blister.
I dug a cat hole. I wiped my ass and saw blood on my wet wipe. “Sometimes everything’s great, and sometimes your ass bleeds. Don’t worry too much about it. You’ll be fine.” I worried anyway. I hated our food. With everything we threw away yesterday and the new stuff we acquired…did we have enough to get us to Onion Valley and our next resupply? I crossed my fingers.
The sky felt my mood and matched it. So it rained.
..but the sky’s plan backfired. I got much happier. The rain was cool and glorious. The torturous morning heat and sun was over. The clouds cooled the earth. We used pack covers but no rain gear. The rain felt so very sublime. Venerable. Glorious.
We told stories as we hiked, and the miles disappeared one after another.
Lunch time. “What are we eating?” I asked and turned my head away from the bear can.
“It’s heavy. That’s all that matters.” If we eat it, we don’t have to carry it. Aidan put an umbrella over the food to protect it from the rain.
The river raged its way along, pissed off about something. Throwing itself off twenty foot drops, roiling white. “Make you wanna kayak?” I looked at Aidan.
“Nah, inner tube,” he said and grinned that handsome grin of his. I laugh in spite of myself. The river didn’t seem so pissed after that.
It rained some more. We ate well away from the bear cans and any wrappers, and the food tasted pretty good. Full Belly Syndrome. I lay down in the rocks and slept. Aidan covered me with an umbrella, curled up next to me with the other umbrella and read his Kindle.
We came to another bridge. A hiker sat under a tree looking homeless. “Anybody got any smoke?” He hollered at no one in particular. Another hiker asked if he needed it to borrow a lighter or something. “No, I need SOME SMOKE.” He was slurring a little. Was he drunk? We hurried past, wondering how he even made it that far.
The temperature read sixty-two degrees. It felt hot. Cloudy. Rainy. We hauled pretty close to fifty pounds each up to Evolution Valley. The climb was crazy and amazing and beautiful and hard and I loved it. We stopped at a creek crossing in Evolution Meadow. Magically, the rain stopped as well. I took off my shoes and lay down in the grass.
We were the only people on Earth. Just as it should be.
I watched the sky for the longest time, the clouds shape-shifting. Taffy. Cotton candy. Ancestors peeking down to see what we were up to.
We crossed the creek, shoes tied to our packs. We were getting exhausted. The clouds came back together, knitting themselves into a black blanket. It rained some more, but never too hard. We walked through it. It wasn’t cold as long as we were moving.
Aidan stopped to take a photo. The meadow was beautiful. The clouds dripped down through the tops of the trees. Just as he focused the camera, a huge lighting bolt split the sky, so close our eyes burned. Aidan changed his mind about the photo and we hustled back into the trees. We scurried through subsequent sections of open meadow, and as he does, Aidan pointed at nothing…”I bet there’s a camp right over there.”
So I followed him off to the right again, and as usual, we found a perfect horse camp. Gorgeous and open but with enough trees over a perfectly flat tent site. Enough to keep us dry. Tiny plants and grasses and flowers flanked by enormous old trees. This valley felt ancient. I could feel thousands of years of history. Tens of thousands. It spoke to my soul. Me and the Universe, all buddy-buddy.
We ate, and barely made it in the tent before we were asleep. It was still light.
The diet I went on this morning pretty much ended up just leaving me hungry. Typical diet.
Think I’m done with that whole idea. Whether or not my shorts fit.