|See, I did smile occasionally...|
June 17th, Tuesday
879 to 896ish
Our Vermillion Valley Resort resupply day had been a bust, but at least I slept great that night. We were camped in a nice flat spot, at a lower (and therefore warmer) elevation. I woke up feeling refreshed physically, if not emotionally. I still felt regret about yesterday. However, for the first time in weeks, we didn’t have to ration our food. I gobbled down half a pound of trail mix in addition to our breakfast granola. The novelty of having as many snacks as we wanted was still sinking in. Even though I had missed VVR, Zach had been sure to come back with bounty.
|Heh, you can kinda see how fed up he is with me...|
I cleaned my feet and saw that I had a large blister on my toe. It hurt when I walked on it, so we hiked slowly that day. The trail gained 3,000 feet of elevation in the first six miles, headed up to Silver Pass (elevation 10,748 feet), and since I was still a bit weak, this was torture. We climbed out of the forest and into the alpine area we now knew so well: pools of clear water among clumps of tough green turf, peaks of tumbled rocks rising above us, streaks of snow, craggy lines of mountains in the distance.
My moods were swinging without warning, and I found myself sobbing all over Zachary and yelling at him about something (not sure what). I was feeling pretty insane at this point, and I drove him right to the edge of insanity with me.
Mosquitos began plaguing us as we hiked, and we tried to walk quickly to get out of the way. We crossed Silver Pass without trouble (again, it had about twenty feet total of snow-walking), enjoyed a few moments of mosquito-free bliss in the wind, then plunged down into mosquito country again.
Toward the end of the day, when I had pumped my body full of calories, my moods leveled out. We stopped to eat supper (a full dinner, imagine that!) at a lake called Purple Lake. We sat next to the glittering water, surrounded by a ridge of pine trees, and took it all in. I sat quiet and still, staring at the water while Zach cooked.
“This is beautiful,” I said, as if it was a revelation to me.
We ate dinner in silence. I didn’t apologize for my earlier actions, because, honestly, it didn’t occur to me that I had anything to apologize for. I can only thank God that Zach is so good at letting things go.
Once we finished dinner, we continued along the trail, looking for the next good camping spot. We chatted about the Harry Potter books and movies— small talk, normal conversation even. After several days of conversation focused on food and resupply strategies and how to cross the passes without breaking an ankle, it was refreshing to just talk.
We were now hiking through a fairly flat section, and began looking for a campsite. I spotted a large flat stretch of stone in a nearby meadow. We hopped from stone to stone to reach it, and set up our tent on the bare granite. Zach went to collect water and I set up the tent and bundled up against the swiftly-cooling temperature.
Zach had a stomachache that night, but went ahead and read me Lord of the Rings, the chapter Mount Doom. I was freezing, so I huddled under the sleeping bag while he read. Once or twice we thought we heard a little noise outside our tent, like chewing, but we didn’t figure out until several days later that it had been a mouse chewing on our backpacks.
The chapter finished, and I cried (as usual). Then Zach and I cuddled up close, sealed the sleeping bag above our head to keep the cold out, and tried to fall asleep. Despite my emotional craziness, today had felt like a “normal” day to me. And there was something incredibly comforting about that.