June 21st, Saturday
I woke up the next morning feeling cranky, but at least Zach wasn’t feeling as nauseated anymore. We took back to the trail, walking slowly.
After about an hour, we walked into a back country camp, called Glen Aulin. There were some canvas tents set up, some cabins, a picturesque waterfall, and a lot of tourists. Zach was still feeling a bit woozy, so he rested while I tried to dip water out of the stream without falling in to the soft sand or getting eaten alive by mosquitoes.
We talked to a nice couple, who were day-hiking from Glen Aulin to see some of the sights. They were visiting with their grandchildren, and asked us all sorts of questions about the trail. “Are those really your shoes?” the man asked in disbelief, referring to our trail runners.
“Yup. They’re a little annoying on some of the rocky areas, but mostly they hold up great.”
The man shook his head. “I just need more support than that.”
I shrugged. “Pretty much all the thru-hikers wear them.”
We hiked with them for a little bit, chatting, but we soon left them behind, climbing out of the river valley up into the mountains again. We paused to eat lunch, and we decided to take advantage of Zach’s presents by concocting a chocolate lunch: peanut butter, honey, and chocolate wrapped up in a tortilla. I cannot even begin to describe how amazing it tasted, how full it made us feel, and how very much I regretted insisting to Zach earlier in the trip that honey was unnecessary.
My memories of that day (not at all aided by my very descriptive journal entry: “Slogged a bit & crossed lots of streams,”) are very patchy. I vaguely remember dramatic gray cliffs, huge up-and-down sections of trail, feeling tired, and not thinking about much.
Whatever we did, we managed to walk 20 miles that day. We paused at a stream that didn’t have a clear crossing, and decided to tackle it in the morning. We found a nice flat spot to camp underneath a grove of pine trees, tucked between the stream and a cliff face.
We settled in and Zach read Lord of the Rings to me. It was the final moment of conflict in Frodo’s story: after all this time, and all this effort (and after nearly a year of us reading the book together), the One Ring was finally destroyed. And I, as usual, wept.