No frostbite from last night. And that potato chips/Snickers bars combo did wonders for my body heat, not too long after I wolfed them down.
God had mercy on us.
We were woken by sunlight: enough of it for us to stretch out and keep our bones warm, while our tents dried and coffee brewed.
That momentary slice of heavenly light was only that, though: momentary.
The day turned grey, quickly.
The smudges and speckles you might be able to make out amongst the skeletal trees are snowflakes. The cold started seeping back in.
As we continued our trek down from the mountaintop, our surroundings got greener, but snow turned to sleet.
The bottom of that the valley into which we were heading is cut across by a highway, which, rumours had it, includes a rest area with toilet blocks one could shelter from a storm in.
The sleet was unrelenting.
I kept my smile big and danced my way down in time with Xavier Rudd beats, but I was dreaming of tights to cover my bare legs and a long sleeve top to be able to wear during the day. I wondered how Nemo was doing in his sandals – yes, SANDALS!, and I hoped that 2Beers was thinking something similar… That maybe they wouldn’t mind bunkering down in the toilet block for the night, or even hitching to town from the highway for a dry night and warm sleep. Anything to escape this weather again.
I reached the highway cold and wet, but in mostly good spirits.
And the rumours proved to be true: there were toilet blocks. Which was where I found my two fellow hikers. Except I couldn’t join them in there. Wouldn’t. I was too busy dry retching as soon as I opened the door and the stench of it wafted toward me.
I can confirm ripped toilet paper scattered on the ground.
I can confirm no flushing toilet – these were ‘long drops’, as my father would say.
I cannot confirm what the stains and puddles were on the ground. Neither could the others, which was why Nemo put his groundsheet down before pulling out every layer of clothing he owned, his sleeping bag, and his cold leftover mac and cheese. Me, personally, I would have burnt that groundsheet directly after laying it on the floor here.
I couldn’t even bring myself to huddle in there with them.
I believe this is the truly what is meant by ‘hiker trash’:
There was no need for convincing these two to head to town; they were definitely absolutely on the same page as I.
Which brings us here:
(An ice bath).
Our newest trail angel, Lisa, picked our sorry selves up from the side of the road, loaded us into her truck and pumped the air on it’s hottest setting. She’s taking us the entire way to Yakima – WHICH IS 100 KILOMETRES AWAY – AND SHE’LL BRING US BACK TO THE TRAIL TOMORROW!
While there is a teensy roadhouse we could spend the night in a lot closer, there is no chance for Nemo to buy shoes or me to buy tights or any of us to buy margaritas, for that matter. I think we all deserve one.
God really did have mercy on us today.
And a laugh.
Yakima, we’re coming for you!