day 4: where is everyone???


52.6 – 68.4

it’s a bad night for sleeping, as predicted. the wind plays tricks on me, i hear rustling all around me & can only drift off for an hour or so at a time before my mind produces something new & terrible & i wake again. a dubious benefit of this is that, from the ridge where i camped, i can trace the moon’s path through the night sky. 

i do the math over & over again for where i’ll be on saturday & i feel like if i slow down just a smidge i’ll be able to take friday evening off in julian & meet josef at scissor’s crossing on saturday. this thought buoys me & i like the excuse to go a little slower & be kinder to my body. i’ve noticed that couples on trail end up pacing eachother, keep eachother from pushing too hard too soon. the more i consider it the happier i feel. i can take a shower & do laundry in julian! & i get to see josef!!

soon after beginning to hike, i overtake the father & son duo from yesterday (who have been dubbed club k & shady). we chat for a while about colorado (where they’re from) & portland. shady says something about how i seem like i’ve done this before. i’m flattered, duh, & confide that it’s been really hard. 

i walk seven miles by 10:15, eager to get to my next water source at a trailhead off of the freeway. i imagine what it will be like, maybe like the one i stopped at yesterday afternoon! trees & shade & company. i stand bewildered for a while. there’s nobody there except for somebody’s shiny audi & no signs of the promised trough & faucet. i shut myself in the pit toilet to think & to escape the wind. the next reliable water isn’t for another 15 miles or so & i have barely 2 liters. shit. i pull up the app where people are sharing water data & read the description again. nope, definitely none here at the trailhead. i wander up onto the trail & YES there it is! the water in the trough is green & has all sorts of dead bugs but the faucet seems to be much clearer. relieved, i call josef & stretch my legs for a while. 

i feel like i’m the only hiker out today. after passing the german girls right after my water stop i see no one else for hours. i chase a strange shaped cloud formation for a while. “humans?” i think hopefully each time i go around a bend or over a rise. where is everyone? are they hiding from the wind? where? i wonder. 

today the trail is all shifting clouds & WIND like whoa. i find out later that a few people actually hitched off trail to avoid it 😳 i walk on exposed ridges for a while & the wind is so strong from both sides that i stumble & falter & have to lean heavily on my trekking poles for support. other times i have to hold both poles in one hand & my hat with the other. 

the only other people i see all afternoon are two guys in an atv & a day hiker who doesn’t even stop to chat. i’m so desperately lonely for these 9 miles of solitude that i almost cry when i see a tent at the water source where i had planned to camp. it’s windy, again, & i think of going on but the thought of camping solo is too much today so i stay put. somehow miraculously josef’s stove works in spite of the wind & i make one of the most heinous pots of mac n cheese that has ever existed. i say goodnight to the other hiker before 7. it’s not even dark yet but i’m tired & sleeping is the only thing that makes sense right now. 


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