day 15: the trail provides


218.5 – 235.5

the wind harangues me again all night, sprinkling a fine dust into my tent anywhere that it can. when will i ever sleep through a night? i wonder.

the morning is all long sweeping ridges & contoured canyons. “now this,” says the retired army medic who i am hiking with, “this i could do all day.” the trail today cuts through a canyon for about 12 miles as does the glittering ice cold mission creek. i cross over at least a dozen times, sometimes onto nice rocky shores & others into swampy mud pits that suck & gurgle at my feet. at one particularly inviting crossing, i join snowshoe, saunter, rafael, kelly & mystery cooler for a foot soak. as i pull my shoes off, the adhesive holding my gaiter velcro to the heel of my shoe finally gives out. “oh,” i say sadly, “i guess i need some superglue when i get to town.” laughing, snowshoe produces a tube of it from the depths of his pack. “the trail provides,” nods mishap.

at my last creek crossing i set down everything again & use my bandana & the good cold water to clean the dust & sweat of the last few days from my body, my face. the water is so SO refreshing. all i can think about today is the salad that i will make when we get to big bear. “roasted chicken, avocado, tomato, bleu cheese dressing, romaine lettuce,” i recite to anyone who will listen. 

today is a short day, since the 16 mile stretch ahead is a former burn & therefore camping is prohibited. it is a treat to roll into camp by 4 o’clock. we’ve all eaten dinner by 5 & since there’s nothing else to do other than tell stories, we all have 2nd & then 3rd dinner & then put ourselves to bed before 8pm. the wind is wild again, but i am confident in the security of my shelter & i fall asleep smug & snug.


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