04.1577.1 – 81.6
i wake up late & lounge in bed until after 8. i had promised myself a calm morning but i can’t bear the wait to see josef. when i hear that brewhiker is at carmen’s & is leaving for scissor’s crossing soon i spring into action & am at the patio by 10:15. keeping up with those tall guys yesterday morning has my ankle feeling all kinds of strange so i buy one of those stretchy bandage wraps. “an insurance policy,” i tell myself.
when josef had told me that he was doing trail magic at the underpass i hadn’t quite grasped the scale. when i get out of brewhiker’s car i am stunned by the half dozen or so nice clean san diegans & their bbq & coolers of beer & picnic blankets & folding chairs & speakers. word has spread fast & hikers have obviously made it a point to be here. i see people i haven’t even seen since day one. “you took off,” one guy says, “we thought we weren’t gonna see you again”. others i’ve never seen before. many plan to go into julian for a day off, only a few dare hike through in the heat of the day. one of the guys from san diego brought his perfect french bulldog, blade, & i lure him into my lap & let him drool on me for as long as i can. josef gives me headphones that he brought for me & brings me ice for my ankle & shares his nalgene of water with me. i’m there in the shade of the underpass for probably six hours & it feels DIVINE. turns out i love being around people?!
i hike into the next stretch with the two sweet german girls, cheese & brownies. their hiking style lives up to the german stereotype: they are measured & deliberate with their steps, stop for water every 15 minutes & keep careful track of how far they are going. they show me a song with my name as the title & it’s beautiful. the descending sun illuminates a sea of blooming cacti like i have never seen before. each switchback holds new glowing silhouettes & as i look back the underpass grows so small that i can only make out the reflection off of the cars parked there.
we come across my friends zippy & rebecca setting up in a dry stream bed. part of me wants to push on but my instinct to be around people is still going strong so i don’t. setting up my shelter is a treat tonight- there’s no wind at all & lots of nice heavy rocks to secure my stakes in the sand. i crouch in front of zippy’s tent eating triscuits & honey stix & make wonderful wonderful small talk with them while they eat their dinner. i’ve hiked less than four miles so my body protests the early bed time but i insist & i put on my new headphones & do my best to drift off.