372 – 383.9
we have a lazy morning gathered around the picnic table with patchwork & bailey. pepa pulls out the pizza he packed out & passes it around & i eat one of my precious bananas & we share an instant coffee packet. somehow this is the first time on trail that i’ve sat down & had breakfast… normally i just snack on bars while i’m walking. it’s nice! but finally at 7:45 it’s inarguably time to go. we get a head start on rob & bailey & patchwork, they’re all moving slow this morning. but today we climb 2600 feet in just under four miles to the top of mt. baden powell & then drop down again. pepa’s memories of this stretch are far from fond so we figure we might as well just get it over with. i ask him whether there are any redeeming qualities at all that he can think of. “there’s a great tree at the top,” he says, “actually it’s my favorite tree.” all the way up i complain both out loud & in my head. morale is low & my lungs are screaming in disgust. the snow at the top is patchy & our microspikes are totally useless & my feet are soaked & leaden. the descent is somehow uphill too & after a while i have to laugh. how is today so dumb??
at little jimmy campground we sit at a picnic table from which we can see the trail. pepa cooks mac n cheese with beef jerky & i stir an avocado into a tuna packet & eat it with crushed up cheezits. “where is everyone?” we keep asking each other & come up with wilder & wilder theories. we can’t have left more than an hour before them & we took it REAL slow today & rob & bailey are DEFINITELY faster hikers than us. “maybe someone fell off the mountain & they had to help them?” i offer. we’re confused & also don’t really know whether we should hike on tonight or nah. there have been reported bear encounters around here & we’re not sure whether it would be better to camp with a group or to camp somewhere where the bears don’t expect dinner? & then suddenly rob & bailey & then boots & young gun & butcher & pebbles & nick & fly trap & josh & & & everyone else from wrightwood is streaming in. the picnic tables are crowded & everyone trades stories from the day. clearly we’re staying & rob hangs our food with his & bailey’s. i tear myself away from everyone after eight (late!) & clamber into our little shelter & fall asleep to the comforting sound of laughing friends.