Sorry, guys, my notes for today and yesterday are mixed together, so day 5 included stuff that actually happened day 6-today.
Here’s stuff that should’ve been yesterday. We hiked round and round and down to Pioneer Picnic area. Aaron saw some stuff on a picnic table and went to look at it. A guy in a car came rushing out, irritated. “Oh excuse me,” he sniffed, “let me get that out of your way.” I have no idea why he was sitting in his car while his stuff was sitting on a table. Shrug.
We picked a table in the shade and spread out our stuff. Lunchtime: Mixed nuts for me. Pay Day, nuts, honey roll and Slim Jims for Aaron. Alberto showed up, looking pretty comfortable underneath his umbrella. We asked if he had seen Lilu, which he hadn’t. He told us that he was at Lake Morena when Lilu got dropped off, and that she had a huge bag of bagels hoisted on her shoulder. We all agreed that if we saw her again, we would bequeath her the trail name, “Bagels”. I told Alberto that I had 2 trail names for him, and he seemed tickled that I had not just one, but two. The first one I offered was “Gung Ho”, that was the word he used about his naively enthusiastic attempt at the PCT three years ago with his buddies. The other name I offered was “Backtrack”, because several times he has gone to a destination and then backtracked for various reasons. He liked “Backtrack” and we agreed that it needed to happen one more time for the name to actually be earned.
Everyone took turns using the outhouse, and Alberto left ahead of us. A few minutes later, I saw him heading back down the trail, toward us. “BACKTRACK!” I yelled.
Today: All the stuff from Sunrise TH happened today. Then it was a long, hot, steep downward trail to the bottom of Chariot Canyon. My feet were miserable. We found a small patch of shade and dozed off for awhile. We saw two day hikers pass us and caught up to them on the steep climb back out of the canyon. They were crouched under the chaparral, sweating. They seemed impressed that we were doing the trail. I was impressed that anyone would ever choose to come do this hike in and out of the canyon of their own free will.
We wound round and round the hills, finally reaching the Rodriguez well. The blister on the bottom of my foot popped right when we got there. I hobbled to the campsite and we made camp. There were red ants everywhere and I was in grumpy pain. Nothing was right. The tent, the spot, the food, all of it pissed me off. Finally, I settled down and calmed myself, looking at the bright stars from the door of my tent. Space is immense and I am nothing. This pain is nothing. Life is a brief flash. Hundreds and hundreds of my ancestors survived in order for me to be here, now, witnessing the twinkle of stars long gone. So beautiful. So tragic. So, so sleepy.