276.5 – 298.5
somehow in the night pepa’s shelter stays sturdy & neither of us feels overly claustrophobic. “are you gonna mail yours home?” he asks & i say i guess so. “i like staying at your place,” i laugh. my pack baseweight will be probably around nine pounds & i marvel at how light that will feel & how much more room i will have for snacks.
the miles this morning are easy, shaded & cool & we both feel good & strong. the trail is playing an odd deja vu with pepa wherein he can’t always recall what’s coming next but sometimes he sees something – a cluster of boulders or a patch of shade & an entire intact memory will come racing back. through the burned trees we can see a shining patch of blue in the foothills of the next mountains. “silverwood lake,” pepa says. we won’t be there for another sixty miles but it’s beautiful, reflecting the sun. we come across an open air privy as we descend to our first water source & break spot of the day & it’s such a strange thing to encounter that i spend a moment snooping around & taking full advantage.
we don’t really have a plan for today, except for that we know that there’s camping after 15 miles, after 16, & after 17. we agree to cook dinner before we camp which is a smart strategy to avoid attracting animals but one that i haven’t had the willpower to try yet. one of the first things that we decided when we were figuring out how this would work was that we wouldn’t share food but we still can’t help but swap bites of my too spicy ramen & his cous cous when we finally take our shoes & socks off in the golden hour gloaming. there are no more listed campsites for the next 25 miles but we figure we’ll find something…. probably. in the few miles after dinner we shop for campsites but none are listed in either of our data & the area is windy & exposed. “i don’t like those,” says pepa, toeing a series of paw prints pacing the clearing. “okay…” i say, doing some mental math, “we could just do another .7 miles & call it a twenty?” we grin at each other & hike on.
just as the sun begins to dip in earnest below the horizon we’re rewarded with the sight of patchwork’s little green tent pitched right on the bank of deep creek in the shadow of the bridge. “the easiest way across,” she calls, “is to take off your shoes & wade.” pepa sits with her while she cooks & i gather rocks & set up our shelter. we’re both spent but satisfied after our accidental 22 mile day & we tumble to sleep nestled in closely. i didn’t write at all tonight, i fret, but i’m too sleepy to care much.