Exhausted from the 19.5 mile Sierra day, heat, and the fall that nearly broke my hand, I set my alarm for 3:30 am and konked out. At 4:15 Blis came over screaming my name. Apparently the team had noticed the lack of headlamp and realized I wasn’t awake. I found my phone in the dark. The alarm had been ringing for 45 minutes. I didn’t hear it go off because of the rushing water of the river twenty feet from my tent.
After a panic like dash to pack my stuff, I realized there was no point in me trying to do it in 15 minutes and told Blis, Happy Feet, Juniper, and Koala to go ahead without me. I would catch up.
I tried not to beat myself up about this little “failure” of mine to wake up and leave camp with the others. I decided, instead, to calmly drink my coffee and packed up in 45 minutes.
Once on the trail, alone, and because we were at a lower elevation, I breathed with joy to be on a snow barren path, recognizing a lot of it from when I had hiked the JMT in 2015.
2015 was a very very very dry dry year.
It was also the year my ex and I hiked it together. He would scribe “kisses” into the trail when he was ahead of me, wash my socks, filter my water, and make me coffee in the morning. We were very much in love.
After three and a half years in our exclusive relationship, 2 of those years being long distance, in September of 2016, I flew out to Bainbridge Island, where he had relocated from NYC, to have a serious talk about the future of our relationship. I felt like he was pulling away, putting less effort into us, and needed the relationship to change.
I put a lot of thought into what I wanted to communicate with him and how I wanted to do it, expecting the relationship might end. It was important to me to at least have this conversation in person, as I was in love with him and wanted to honor and respect what we had shared and do my best to give it my all.
I was surprised that while there, we mutually decided that it was a good idea for me to move out to Washington after I hiked the PCT.
A month later, my ex broke up with me on the phone. He said that the relationship didn’t “make sense.” He was lost. Etc.
I haven’t communicated with him since.
As I hike the path that we once hiked together, memories of our intimate, joyful, and loving time on the trail are hard to repress. When the 2017 record level snow hides the familiar trail, and I walk on a new trail, created out of necessity because the switchbacks are too dangerous to navigate due to water or snow, I am thankful to walk a new path.
Today, however, at a lower elevation free of snow, I could recall the trees we took breaks at, the hot springs we soaked in at Muir Trail Ranch, his humorous explaination of how to go to the bathroom without toilet paper, sniffing Juniper berries, getting lost, and the love notes we scribed to each other in sand.
And so I coach myself that these thoughts and memories of my ex are not serving me and I try to find and create new memories, rich and full of love for and with nature and my current hiking companions.
Miles hiked: 17
Passes crossed: Selden Pass
Forded: Bear Creek by log
Bud: VVR (shower and laundry. Skin care)
Rose: overall hike and good vibes w tramily Crossing bear creak log.
Thorn: missing my alarm but still I was happy to get the extra sleep.
Song of the day by Penguin Cafe Orchestra