I reckon every day has something special to offer. Sometimes it’s like a treasure hunt and you have to search for it (admittedly, I don’t always find it), but sometimes it’s served to you on a silver platter. Today, I had that something special served to me in ziplock bags, by some very special people.
Jefé and Songbird had decided to sunrise summit this morning as a duo, and I decided that I’d sleep in and wait for them. I’ve got admin and relaxing to do anyway, and I like their company.
The. Best. Decision.
Yesterday arvo, as I was on my way to one of the most glorious toilets I’ve ever sat on (see picture below), I passed a family of five. Those who know me – or have seen me around kids – know I generally poke my tongue out at children. I love seeing how they react: will they be shocked that an adult did that? Will they dob on me to their parents? Will they respond in kind? A little cutie with messy blonde hair stared me down as I poked out my tongue, then grinned and winked at her so she wouldn’t think I was just being mean. She really didn’t have a bar of it and just sat and watched me walk by.
The fam was still at the campground when I had finally woken up from my glorious sleep in and wandered to the toilet. I was walking with Pip, and they called us over and invited us to join them for breakfast and coffee.
The universe works in mysterious ways.
Yesterday, Pickleback had all but ran out of food. I still had nearly two pounds of oats that I was absolutely sick of at this point, and gave it to him gladly. He was stoked he had food. I was stoked I didn’t have to eat (or carry) the oats. It was maybe an hour later that I realised it also meant I had nothing for the next few breakfasts myself, but I was still glad to have said goodbye to that bag of pre-porridge.
And the very next day, here were the Kramer’s: openly and warmly inviting us to sit and share with them.
Their food filled my belly, and their company filled my heart. They’ve got two daughters (Ella and Abi), and a son in the middle of the mix (Sam). I braided the girls’ hair as we drank coffee and ate dehydrated raspberries, nibbled on salami, ate cheese on peppery crackers. Lori and Zach know how to do back country food.
As if our couple hours with them didn’t bless my heart enough, Pip and I walked back to our tents arms full! We’d been given Parmesan and smoked Gouda cheeses, more crackers and biscuits, dried fruits, some bars, and all sorts of goodies. Even honey waffles! And a raspberry dark chocolate crumble! Lori explained how to make it for dessert… Pip and I immediately agreed to eat it for second breakfast right there and then. It’s got to be one of my favourite on trail meals I’ve eaten. Seriously – check out this hunk of cheese.
It’s almost the size of my fist!
And even if they hadn’t bestowed on us some of the greatest trail magic of all time, I think it’s safe to say K5 will be lifelong friends. I’m coming to Kansas City one day to explore your backyard!
I continued to wait for Jefé and Songbird.
(And I didn’t mind at all.)
They arrived eventually, and we all ate again.
A few of us have started using each other’s names as verbs for specific things we tend to do. Songbirding is when you chew up your food (eg. cheese, salami, tomato) and spit it out onto your tortilla or into a meal.
It sounds gross. Okay, it is kinda gross. But it’s also very practical when we don’t have knives and chopping boards on hand. Annnnd full disclosure: I may have taken up the practise once or twice.
It was 6PM by the time we actually started moving. We were the only three of our posse left; the others had already walked on, but it was a stunning walk at dusk.
My only complaint would be THE FLIPPING MOZZIES.
All nice feelings were sucked out of my body as they swarmed us. I lathered in my 100% deet with no regard for the cancer it was probably leaching into my skin. So long as those suckers stayed away, at least I’d stay sane. Back in Australia, before I’d left, I was hesitant to bring a head net. I thought they looked dorky and sometimes, yes, my pride still gets I the way of practicality. I was thanking Sarah big time for telling me not to be an idiot and making me pack it.
There’s only one in that picture, but that’s because I had had a fit and flailed my arms around just prior to snapping the photo. Anyone would have thought I was mad. Probably already did, if they’d seen us songbirding our food, I guess. And I also guess if they were there to see me, they’d be doing mosquito death dances too.
We saw a few W’s here and there, and then a bunch of them in one spot. K5 had left a big note scrawled in the dirt to tell me they’re camped only a mile up ahead on the right.
The sun had set, and the others had chosen to camp on the meadow (mozzies were back asleep at this point, thank you Jesus!) but I pressed on just in case Lori or Zach were still awake.
It was a lovely bookend to the day: to start and finish with them. I’m already sad I won’t get to hike with them, as we veer off to Bishop tomorrow for our resupply and they continue on trail, but I know I’ll see them again one day.
And that’s what makes these special moments so special; they’re unexpected, and they can be fleeting, but they leave deep impressions upon our hearts.