Public service announcement: If the word “period” makes you squeamish, you probably want to skip today’s entry, too.
May 20th, Tuesday
430 to 444, KOA Kampground
We slept in late the next day because we were cold and exhausted. But when the sun rose and we realized that the temperature at this elevation wasn’t going to get warmer, we feebly began packing up. My fingers were so numb I couldn’t feel them.
We continued on the trail, and realized our poodle-dog bush worries weren’t over: we were still dodging and inching around the plants. I was bleeding even more heavily today, and I kept on thinking about all those warnings I’d read online about ovarian cysts. I just kept telling myself, “Your body is stressed, and you’ve been eating a ton of sugar and fat and white flour. Your body’s just freaking out. It’s okay. It’s okay.” Zach supported me, trying to keep me calm, for his sake as much as for mine.
We hiked up into hills which were pretty barren, but not burned. There were scattered live trees, which was a sight I had never quite appreciated as much as I did now. We hiked slowly, especially with my frequent breaks, so other hikers often passed us. One of them was a guy we later learned was named Shrek. He was a kid, looking like barely more than a teenager, dark-haired, bronze-skinned, dirty, bearded, and wearing only short-shorts, a backpack, and some beat-up shoes that were far too large. We didn’t really meet him that day, but that was the first time we saw him.
In the afternoon, the trail wandered along the ridges of brown hills, skirting the edges of a crest of sharp-peaked hills. There was almost no cover, nowhere to go to the bathroom. Otto and Mad Hatter were also pacing us, which gave me little opportunity for privacy. Just when I realized that I had to find a private spot right now, Mad Hatter was right in front of us, and it began to rain.
I waited for Mad Hatter to move on, allowing me a precious window of opportunity to change my stuff. But Mad Hatter took off his backpack, rummaged through it, and began getting out his raingear.
I looked at Zachary. He looked at me. Fine, misty rain pattered on us. We both held back laughter. This was simply just too awful.
We grabbed our raincoats as well, and at last Mad Hatter moved on. Caught between sobbing and laughing, holding my umbrella in my cold shaking hand, I felt like I couldn’t go on. I just couldn’t go on this way!
“There’s a KOA Kampground just two miles away,” Zach said.
“Can we go there, please?” I whimpered.
We started hobbling along. At last Zach said, “Maybe you have an extra uterus.”
“Maybe I have SIXTEEN EXTRA UTERUSES!”
And we both laughed. Because it was better than crying.
As we walked, the smells of the wet desert rose around us. It smelled like stinky horses. Eventually we took off our raincoats because we were sweating more than we were getting rained on. Within the hour, the misty rain cleared, and the moisture seeped into the sand and vanished.
Zach and I stumbled into the KOA and found the office closed, but filled out a card on the honor system and joined the mass of hikers camped on the lawn for 10 bucks a person. I immediately hit the shower and stayed there for almost an hour.
After that, Zach cooked us some pasta for dinner. We watched a group of hikers sit around a steel drum and play music together, just as they had done at Guffy Campground several days ago. We learned that the drum’s owner, Ewok, had been lugging the 14-pound giant since the border. Insane!
Still feeling sick, I hung out near the bathrooms a lot. Zach and I also sat by the hot tub and dangled our feet in, chatting with two thru-hikers from Israel.
The night was cold and dewy. Zach and I huddled in our tent and he quickly fell asleep, but it was another sleepless night for me. At least this time, the bathroom was heated.