X Games: Year 5

I woke up to my best friend rustling in the kitchen. He woke me up because that is where I am sleeping for two days. There’s a bed and a wood burning stove there. His girlfriend got up too, and we said our hellos and they gave me instructions for the laundry and the stove. Then they left together for work.
I called my girl – Hannah is her name, though Baby Doll is the moniker I use if I’m pretending we’re bandits (and of course I need one too: I’m Cowboy to her) – and we video-chatted for an all too brief four minutes and twenty-three seconds before she had to go into work. So often we have all the time in the world and we talk for hours at a time. We even Skyped for nine hours and had a “sleep over” as she so youthfully named it. I love Hannah, she fills me with so much warmth and happiness that I can hardly see straight when she does, and that’s an amazing feeling.
I hung up with Hannah and got a homemade kombucha out of the fridge. I bottled it yesterday. Unfiltered, there is a lot of scoby in these four bottles. My other the gallons weren’t ready, but, if last summer was any indicator, I will have a nearly endless supply of kombucha to share before too long. This will be my gift for Burning Man.
I got back into bed. I ate a big piece of Lilly’s chocolate. That’s the brand that is sweetened with stevia and erythritol so that it has less sugar. I really like it, and I bought three bars last night, knowing that that might be a setup to over indulge. I took a sip of my kombucha and slipped another square of 70% Extra Dark chocolate into my mouth, and I realized that I have a life worth writing about. As always, my journal entries have been scant this winter, although come to think of it we’re only about a month in.
I started to write. I noticed the crackle of the fire and the occasional creek of the warped cast iron wood stove. Allan says the choke doesn’t close all the way because the stove has been overheated too many times. So I’ll need to “stuff it” and then close the choke completely before I leave to help keep Jake, his parrot, warm.
Next, I think of all the wood I’ve chopped in the three weeks I’ve been at my new job. Big rounds to heat giant cabins and tiny sticks for kindling on sub-zero mornings. I think about how I need to be more careful; Danny Davis, a famous snowboarder, was hampered at X Games last night by a hand injury: he had accidentally hit his hand while chopping wood with an ax. This, according to a short montage that they showed entitled “The Road to X Games” before his halfpipe run. I was there. I stood on the deck (i.e. the top of the halfpipe) from 45 minutes before the event started until 15 minutes after it was over – talking with my new friends, college guys who love to ride steeps at Crested Butte, and waiting just in case Shaun White wants to come skittering down along the edges, throwing spray in his steezed-out halfpipe slide like he did when I first visited X Games Aspen five years ago.
And I notice the theobromine coursing through me. Kombucha and chocolate are both rich in this stimulant and its character is unmistakable. I realize that it’s time to go snowboarding and do homework and go to the hot springs – and probably go back to X Games for day two to see a new event: Snowbike Cross. So I finish my chocolate bar with no dilution as to its healthfullness in my empty stomach, and whip open the end-of-chapter quiz for the first chapter of Linear Algebra, which happens to be a chapter I have yet to read. 85% is almost good enough, but an extra 15 minutes nets me an additional 5%, and then I move on to answering the discussion about why each of us is here.
“It’s required for my major,” many students replied. Others chimed in with “Its useful for _____” – take your pick of programming, CompSci or myriad engineering majors. Truly, though, it was to me a question of existence, and my well-explicated reply seemed terse for this weightiest question of all: “Hunter Thompson said to discover the lifestyle you want first, then make your career to fit. To this end, I left the University of Colorado to find myself…” I begun. This response was a lie, however, or at least a half truth: Finding myself was a byproduct of something I did first. Something I did out of utter necessity: First I lost every trace of who I was except eight fingerprints.

#xgames #XGamesAspen #kombucha #lillyschocolate #aspen #snow #snowboarding

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Kayak Camping in Search of Bioluminescence

Somewhere in the back of my mind I had a bucket list item labeled
Experience Bioluminescence but I’d let it slide down the list and out of my thoughts long ago. Like most people, I knew what bioluminescence was – some mercurial variety of plankton that, if you’re lucky enough to find you can stir up to reveal an ethereal and viridescent glow – but I hadn’t the faintest idea of how or where to experience it.
In walks Hannah, a fun and fiery mentch for adventure. We met Friday night at Burning Man when the metropolitan implosion was coming to a head, and, though we spent 12 wonderful hours together, we never saw each other again. Such a typical scenario in that frenzied desert wonderland. But, in our continuous missing of one another, Hannah left a little note with her phone number on my pillow. So when I found myself inching ever deeper into California as I checked off must-do mountain bike rides on my post-Burning Man roadtrip, I dropped her a line. I received a prompt and unequivocal reply: “I have two-and-a-half days off and I want to go on a kayak adventure.”
Now I hadn’t kayaked much and neither had Hannah but what we lacked in raw experience we more than made up for in enthusiasm and gall. We dragged the kayaks out from under a friend’s deck and strapped the 13- and 15-foot-long galleons to the roof of her 26-year-old Toyota Tercel. With the backseat housing a compendium of gear and supplies, we headed north out of Berkeley for a couple hours as we fleshed out our plan. (Sidebar: we’d spent the night squatting a sailboat in the marina there.)
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Guided by tips from her local acquaintances (I’m from Colorado, she’s from New York,) we parked and put in at Miller, a county park with a boat ramp and $5 overnight parking. A kayak loaded for an overnight trip weighs at least 40 pounds, so a boat ramp is welcome if not entirely necessary. Permits are typically obtained a fair distance away at Bear Valley but we had arrived too late and resigned ourselves to guerilla camping – a euphemism that outdoorsman use to refer to camping stealthily, and usually illegally, which was us despite our good intentions.
Hell isn’t merely paved with good intentions; it’s walled and roofed with them. Yes, and furnished too. ~Aldous Huxley
Regarding red tape, permits are required for camping on Tomales Bay, and we were keenly aware we had been remiss. But not a soul entered our purview in the time we camped on the far shore. It was a Monday-Wednesday trip, though I am told that fall and October in particular is prime viewing season.
So for two days we camped and paddled the serene waters, all but silent and all but alone. Day paddlers and the occasional fishing boat would come and go, and the roar of the open sea crashing against the shores of Point Reyes on the far side of the peninsula that creates our luminous sanctuary was omnipresent, but the signs of other life consisted mostly of the squawks of sea birds (also omnipresent) and the rare bark of a seal.
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Bioluminescence turned up in spades. It was everywhere, every night. It would stream from the bows of our boats in the moonless darkness and sparkle on our fingertips. Kudos to Hannah for the desire to touch it, a simple but strikingly beautiful experience that might have otherwise escaped me. Fish darted beneath our boats, trailing gossamer trains that lingered in proportion to their girth. Hannah hoped for a wiley seal to pass by us in the aqueous darkness below and leave a sparkling wormhole, while I silently imagined the rush of seeing the pointy-finned silhouette of the sea’s most notorious predator against a cloud of noxious green. After moonrise “bio” as the locals call it was to be found less strikingly, now appearing as what at first glance just looks like bubbles in the wake of our paddles.
We crossed the bay at the epitome of a casual pace. We set up camp on a deserted shore, upon a bed of matted vegetation scarcely above the high water line. Indeed, it took a bit of looking just to find that. Awaking in late morning, we frolicked but did not venture far, and then we dozed off for the afternoon. We ebbed back to Tomales Bay just as it was, bucolic and devoid of any obvious enterprise or ambition, a current that powerfully overcame the drive we’d once had.
We dressed warmly for the paddle back, and rightly so – a damp wind pummeled our city-soft skin while the outgoing tide sapped our speed with unsettling facility. We found lubberland just as crupuscular rays spread into the saturated blue beyond and we sat down to eat in the warm sanctuary of Nicks Cove restaurant. We shmoozed and noshed on chowder and oysters and bread, and then slipped back into inky darkness and onto the water to chase streaking stars and sparkling plankton once again.

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The church from the movie The Rock is on the way

#bioluminescence #tomalesbay #california #kayaking #campin #burningman

Mount Columbia and Mount Harvard: Collegiate Peaks Backpacking Combo

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A fabulous, moderate and less crowded way for Denverites to spend a weekend bagging 2 of Colorado’s 50-some 14ers.
Type: two-summit lolliloop
Length: 2 days, about 15 miles
Day 1: Leisurely drive to the North Cottonwood Canyon trailhead outside of Buena Vista, about 2.5 hrs. It’s at the end of county road 365. From there hike about 4 miles up Horn Fork Creek on a good trail, passing a left fork to a small lake at mile 1. Camp near the next intersection in the trail, an unsigned junction of the trails that lead to Harvard (straight) and Columbia (right.) Water is readily available as of July 11.
Day 2: You can summit either peak from the junction, but if you’re doing both it’s much easier to do a counterclockwise loop. That way you ascend the loose scree slopes of Columbia, descend to the peak to peak traverse with the valley you need to cross almost in full view, and finally descend back to camp on the well built trail and steps of Harvard. From here camp again, or descend an hour back to your car. If you’re camping two nights it might be nice to bring a fishing pole and camp a little closer to Harvard at Bear Lake, which is purported to have good cutthroat fishing.
Packing List: hat, gloves, insulating layer and rain jacket – we were cold! Plus your usual backpacking and peak bagging gear. Happy Trails!

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A fabulous, moderate and less crowded way for Denverites to spend a weekend bagging 2 of Colorado’s 50-some 14ers.
Type: two-summit lolliloop
Length: 2 days, about 15 miles
Day 1: Leisurely drive to the North Cottonwood Canyon trailhead outside of Buena Vista, about 2.5 hrs. It’s at the end of county road 365. From there hike about 4 miles up Horn Fork Creek on a good trail, passing a left fork to a small lake at mile 1. Camp near the next intersection in the trail, an unsigned junction of the trails that lead to Harvard (straight) and Columbia (right.) Water is readily available as of July 11.
Day 2: You can summit either peak from the junction, but if you’re doing both it’s much easier to do a counterclockwise loop. That way you ascend the loose scree slopes of Columbia, descend to the peak to peak traverse with the valley you need to cross almost in full view, and finally descend back to camp on the well built trail and steps of Harvard. From here camp again, or descend an hour back to your car. If you’re camping two nights it might be nice to bring a fishing pole and camp a little closer to Harvard at Bear Lake, which is purported to have good cutthroat fishing.
Packing List: hat, gloves, insulating layer and rain jacket – we were cold! Plus your usual backpacking and peak bagging gear. Happy Trails!

Seatbelt Sunburn – or A Letter to a Friend

Days that burn forever, stretching, stretching and then – CRUNCH! The recompression sets in gently but the feeling is immediate and unmistakable. Time for everything turns to everything into such limited time. And me sent familiarly whirling into the universe. It’s a friendly sort of discomfort. I climbed a mountain to get away from it, though the escape was never the physical distance nor the isolation – it was the exertion. A heartbeat that is slowly forced higher and higher, thumping in your chest,  pounding in your throat, then eventually slamming in your ears till all other sounds dies away and the world in every direction is just a sunset limned in ethereal glow. To this end I chose one of the highest in all the Rockies, Blanca, and never mind that it was easily accessed from where I happened to already be camping. The 2 hour drive to get there was too short and when I arrived I still didn’t have a plan. I set out in the afternoon, knowing full well a lengthy climb lay ahead. Almost immediately it clouded over and hailed. No coat. I hiked on. Up and up for 4 hours I climbed. The sun returned as I walked above the trees on a great trail if only all of the tumbled-down rock in it could be hoed away. Alpine marshes, then snow. Steep snow, deep snow. Hand over hand up the slide path of a slushy spring coulier. Finally, rock. Some of it loose, some of it stable. Some of it sparkled with green lichen I’m not sure I saw. But miles of colossal rock. All to summit the 14,000′ leviathan that wasn’t even my goal – it just happened to be in my path. Up and over and a cliffy descent in the hard shadows of a horizontal sun at dusk.

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Smokey skies and a fiery sunset is what I found when I climbed – quite literally, exposed, class 5 and unroped – the final granite ledges to Blanca’s 14,344 foot summit. And presently I turned right back around. Sitting somewhere in the 90s in the valley below, the temperature had plummeted into the 50s, and I only in shorts and a hoody. But the real problem was darkness. In the fading twilight I put as many boulders as I could behind me. The next 7 hours found me glissading 1200′ by headlamp, boulder hopping, sloshing and walking, always walking, to relinquish the 5,000+ feet and 7 miles I had so excitedly acquired in my lust for exertion. I whimpered silently with a new understanding of what is so great about a bed. I staved exhaustion with micronaps in the trail, not bothering to even remove pack or wet clothes. In these moments the painful ache in my knees abated, only to return in the first few steps of resumed descent. 5,000 feet is a long way down. By 2 a.m. sleeping by the road was hardly unappealing, shoot, in an outsized rollerskate would have been an option if it hadn’t been for the flees swarming in. The next day I hiked to a waterfall and took pictures but as I began my return I doubled back – a swim was much deserved – and now the minerals feel so good on my skin that I still have not showered 3 days later. Maybe the oils are helping my sunburn.
Love & (twi)light,
Kyle

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“It was so god awful and normal…”

Dad and I had talked 78 minutes. We talked about my trip and each of our health, the dogs and the new fence, and we updated each other on everything that life was like at the moment. And I wasn’t angry with him. I’d called three times now, and I all three times I was very angry with him. It was his fault my sister had died, I kept thinking. It was because of this that I didn’t call him right after it happened. If I had, I’d have apologized today, and that would have been awful. Anyway, he didn’t answer any of those three times. Talknig to him now, he’s had as a rougher time than anyone. Says he can’t sleep, but he’s having happy dreams. It’s just that he wakes every hour or so some nights. He got a prescription, so those nights he takes a Xanax. One of my sister’s favorite drugs. My dead sister. The drug I always kept around but never enjoyed enough to take recreationally. I hated the feeling of coming off of Xanax the next day. Flexaril was much better and had the same effects for me.

I told him the dreams I’d been having. Dreams that are so intense and real that they seem to have lasted all night, at least, if that hadn’t actually happened in real life. And they couldn’t have. In my dreams it was sunny, but I know that outside it was just a cold dark night like every winter night here in the mountains. I would sit with someone, someone I can’t remember, and I would talk about Lida. I don’t remember if they would talk or just me. Then I would cry. Really cry, like I don’t think I’ve ever cried in my entire life, convulsively balling and tears streaming endlessly. It felt amazing, like I was letting myself be someone I’ve never been able to accept.

I’m not a crier. I don’t think I’ve ever been. Even with bones and tendons and torn flesh sticking out, a split open chin or broken teeth, my eyes don’t even tear up. Ending an amazing relationship many years long brought only a couple of streams of tears on different days, and these only a tear or two long.

This lack of crying has always made me wonder about myself. Is there something wrong with me? Am I a bad person because I don’t cry? I didn’t cry at all when Toni told me. “No! What? No!” was my response. Then a long silence on my end while her screeching and sobbing filled the temporal space in our conversation. I began to wonder how it might be affecting the rest of my family. My thoughts shot to the one person it would affect most. “Oh god. Does mom know?”

I’m not a nurturer. I’ve never considered myself to have great empathy for the people around me. My strongest empathy is for my family, and even that comes and goes. But I’m strong. I have a way of accepting and moving on, instantly. It’s a weird gift, and although I naturally wonder if I’m “bottling my emotions”, I’ve never found a way to let them out. So I proceed, by checking in on everyone else. I called Mom, and then I called Dad. You know, he didn’t answer. I left him a message though, and as soon as I started to speak I felt some empathy. I just said, “I love you Dad, and that is all I need to say.”

I was on the bus from Tahachapi to Bakersfield when I first started to cry. It hit me hard. It was a simple peaceful sadness and I cried at the senselessness of it all. Immense loss filled me.

I woke up from my soggy dream dream exhausted, and it happened the next night too. Both days I got up at 6:45 am and went to work. Girly Girl was there. I was exhausted. It was yet another strain on our relations.

“Dad, there was one more thing that I wanted to ask you. This might be kind of morbid, but what was it like when you found her?” It was so god awful and normal that I can only recount it matter of fact, because I know him and I know her and I know the place where she was. I know the way she leaves the lights on and her dogs in their cage, and the way she passes out fully clothed. Such was the case on this particular Sunday.

My Dad had called and texted the day before and she’d not answered. It had snowed. He knew he’d need to come home to check on the dogs and when he got home from his girlfriends he let them out of their kennel and put them outside. She was passed out, bent over the bed, as he’d seen her once before. As I write this I can smell the familiar sent of fresh urine on old newspapers lining the bottom of their cage. I don’t call it a kennel because a well-trained dog likes to be in its kennel. Aster and Bodie despise it.

“Damnit Lida, why’d you leave the light on?” He turned off the bathroom light and went out to shovel the drive way. He got halfway done and came back in to take a break. He walked in, her bedroom door still open, and I’m assuming her light still on. He picked up the little baggy of “street drugs” off her waist-high bed. One white pill lay out on the bed and he put it back in the bag and put the bag in his pocket. He’d done exactly this with a small baggy of brown heroine sometime prior. He talked to her, saying something I can’t remember. Probably asking what the pills were and reprimanding her. Expecting her to wake up as he looked over her. But you already know that she didn’t wake up. She didn’t move at all, and my Dad put his hand on her cold back.

What would you do? I can see myself finding her. I slide to my knees and hug her however I can. She’s wearing jeans and I press my head against her leg and cry. I squeeze her and she is hard. Then I turn and just sit, leaned back against the bed. In this version my Dad comes in next and I just sitther on the floor crying. She died while I still lived there. While we all lived there together, doing that funny thing called family life that isn’t like anybody else’s.

“What did you do?” he asked her. He said a prayer, asking God to watch over her. He brushed her hair back and saw the deep purple of her left cheek. She had died face down with her phone in her hand. Her finges were pointed in the position that you make when you die. When I heard this I began to wonder if she was calling for help. I liked that version for some reason.

He put the drugs back on the bed. He called 911 and as he told me the next part we laughed together. There are, it turns out, a lot of ridiculous things about people dying. 911 asked my Dad to turn her over and give her CPR. He repeated that she was cold. And stiff. If he turned her over her legs would stick up in the air, he told them. After all, she had died bent over at the waist a whole day prior. Not that he knew this, or that anybody really knows, but that’s the way it seems.

The emergency crew arrived with a fire truck and ambulance, only to declare her dead. Then the police came. The emergency crews did something in the bedroom that sounded like jumping and then brought her out straightened. Meanwhile my dad was confined to the couch where the police asked him the same questions different ways. “They treated it like a crime scene,” he said. And I don’t blame them. This thing smacks of foul play. Who opens up a bag of pills, pops one in their mouth, lays an extra one on the bed, lays the baggie down next to the extra pill, and then just croaks? Who lays expensive and difficult to obtain oxycodone pills out on their bed, anyway? “I’m glad she died at home,” my Dad said. She didn’t, Dad.

I called Mom to test my theory on her. She didn’t buy it. She said Lida had done similar things before, and she was right. But in the end she belied her truth: it was hurting her to do anything but let it go, and finding that someone else might have played a role in Lida’s death was anything but letting it go.

 

Family Emergency

It was that simple but it took me all day to figure it out. I finally decided to go to Lancaster tonight after mapping it and seeing that, at the very least, Lancaster put me an hour closer to LAX than Bakersfield did. From downtown Lancaster I could then take a bus to the train station, there I could take the metrolink to LA union station, and from there I could take the shuttle to LAX and finally fly out. The total trip would be about twelve hours and, if I left now I could make it by lunchtime tomorrow. I’d be a little exhausteder, that’s all. I got up from the fast food salad I’d unwittingly bathed in ‘dressing’ – a pseudonym for the white creamy mixture that results from the combination of corn syrup and vegetable oil with a smattering of other less healthy ingredients and which is essential in masking the dry and processed taste of all Burger King’s ‘salads’ – and crossed the parking lot to the bus stop. I’d missed the bus. The kid had told me it always runs late. Come to think of it I hadn’t seen a Kern County bus run late and I’d spent seven of the last 30 hours on them. I’d been in Burger King mapping and searching and coordinating with hosts for the evening and had assumed I’d figure it all out with enough time to go either east to Lancaster or west to Bakersfield. Now I could either camp out here in dry windy and cold Tehachapi, it is rural and doesn’t have too shady a vibe (unlike Bakersfield, my God) and so it wouldn’t be hard to do, or I could ride 90 minutes back to Bakersfield – the fourth time I’d be traversing that winding and hilly section of Highway 58 in 30 hours. That bus, it turned out, was running late, and as I stood on the bench inside the shelter in order to keep the biting wind off my bare legs as it cut underneath the glass walls, I got an idea. An idea that could have occured to me anytime after 8:30 a.m. when I realized I wouldn’t be going to Irvine to have my ears molded in silicone, but that instead took a full 11 hours to surface. A testament to how exhausted I am. I swapped Bakersfield for LAX and got an astounding result: nothing changed; I could just as readily fly out of Bakersfield as out of LAX and avoid five hours of bus and train travel and the associated cost. Wow. Duh. And since I was paying with award miles the plane ticket wouldn’t cost anymore (or any less, $80 and 60 cents to use your free ticket.) I called my couch surfing host and asked for a ride to the airport. One more thing on top of needing a last minute place to stay and to be picked up downtown. She is a mother and I think she knew I was in need without me ever saying it because when I got in the car she basicly immediately asked what was up. And I didn’t hesitate to tell her. I mean I didn’t tell her somebody had died, because that has proven to be a real conversation killer today, but I told her I’d planned to get off the trail and then as soon as I did I got hit with what I’ve resigned to calling a family emergency. Except its not an emergency. Somebody’s not choking, or in need of a lung or kidney or blood, or even lying on their deathbed. Nobody needs taken care of, we’re all nice and healthy. Nobody needs anything but we all know something big is missing. I’m not even going home. I just have to get the hell out of the place where I found out, and it took all day to plan it but now I can sleep a few hours (inside a house nonetheless) and I’ll be gone by 7:00 a.m. If I come back to the PCT it will be difficult to pass through here again.

Crater Lake: More Fog

Start: North Junction (1841)
Camp: Mazama Village (1830)
One great thing about being a SOBO: you can stop looking back – nobody ever walks up behind you.
When I woke to my tent aglow in the morning sun I was hopeful that the weather had cleared. I packed gingerly in my treed retreat and then I sat reading and worrying that the 7:00 a.m. sun reflected off the placid lake below might give me a sunburn. Today is an easy day: 13 miles around the Crater Lake rim and down to Mazama Village, resupply, then stay in the campground there. That said, I still have to get moving – it’s six miles via the Rim Trail to the nearest water, and all I have is a liter left over from the gallon I gleaned off some Seattle RV’ers yesterday. Around that time, as I basked in the temporary ownership of my own flat expanse of concrete, a gentleman pulled up in a sporty new car and asked if I was a PCT hiker. When I answered yes he went to his trunk and withdrew a carbon fiber bear canister, carefully unlocked it with a nickel, and withdrew a handful of “bars” for me. Something called “Epic” and made from bison meat, which I ate with my oatmeal, and another one which I’m eating now that resembles an overgrown cream wafer but with more protein than a bar made from ground bison. It is delicious if only because it is different, delectable because I had forgotten what it was like to eat something that is not smashed or melted.

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The hike was easy and led to several beautiful viewpoints. The fog burned off early in the afternoon and I relaxed on the patio at the rim village making lunch and watching day hikers continue south along the rim and up a gnarly knife edge to a nearby peak.
I found Mazama Village smoldering, the inhabitants wide eyed and horrified at the carnage wreaked upon them by the northbound herd that was still there pillaging the villages meager stores.

Beautiful Day

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I lightened my load, got to see a really beautiful friend and make a new one. Then I made some miles and found a camp that not only has cell phone service but it’s not overrun with mosquitoes either. I’m rested energized and feeling stronger than ever, and my feet love me again. My resupply box was perfectly stocked – it even contained chlorine drops just when my Sawyer was starting to falter.
I reluctantly took an hour ride from Snoqualmie Pass into downtown Seattle after finishing Section J early yesterday afternoon. It wasn’t the driver. It was just that I had planned to roll through, pick up my resupply box at the Chevron station and add a few more miles to the breezy eleven miles I’d strolled from Goldmeyer (where I’d taken a zero the day before.) But my feet hurt – bad. I have had a shooting pain in my right arch that’s been developing in the afternoons on longer days, and the hot weather (it was in the eighties the last two days) combined with my high top waterproof boots was starting to give me hot spots that I knew were nascent blisters. I called REI about exchanging my shoes and insoles, then I called Marissa about crashing her futon last minute.

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On the futon with Binx


REI was great, John was better. So John gives me a ride to REI where they happily return my shoes and exchange my insoles (twice) but REI doesn’t stock any wide sizes except the Merrels I was wearing. John to the rescue. John asks, “What size shoe are you wearing?”
“They’re a size eleven wide. Why?”
“Well-” John looks at me slyly, “these are an eleven double wide.” John shows me his shoe. It’s a brand new New Balance in a beautiful blue color scheme. I put one on and it felt like my foot had been reunited with an old friend. I did due diligence and walked around with two different shoes on for a while but when REI finally kicked us out I was wearing John’s shoes and his new ones were on their way from Amazon. John took me back to Marissa’s and we stopped in the middle of the road to take touristy pictures of the Space Needle along the way.
Marissa and I got a chance to go to lunch and catch up better than when I’d been in Seattle hurriedly preparing to set out five weeks ago. We ate Cuban style pulled pork at Paseo, something I’d never had and we’d weighted in a line that ran down the block for, then she took me back up to the pass. What amazing friends.

Start: Snoqualmie Pass
Camp: Rockdale Creek
Distance: 4.0 miles