A beautiful day. Last night's dusting of snow on the mountain tops brought sharp relief to the texture of the jagged rock, and I was out of the tent early enough to see all the peaks turn rosy pink and orange as the sun rose. The trail followed the walls of a canyon, into two glacial bowls bursting with fall color, and into thick, lush forest. It was beautiful, and very easy, all downhill. The weather messed with me a little bit, it changed every time I finally stopped being stubborn and changed to adapt to IT.
Since today was a town day, it was every woman for herself. Sweet 16, with her 3+ mile headstart, made it just in time for the noon shuttle, Micro got there at 1-something and hitched a ride from a local. Her old town guide had said the shuttle ran every two hours, starting at 8 and ending at 6. It turns out the schedule is changed quite often, I got there right after the 3:00 shuttle departed, almost three hours until the next and final run. I had to work really hard to put on a good attitude, be happy for the opportunity to read and journal without any town distractions. Right when I had settled into writing, the park ranger had to run into town and offered me a lift. Yay! So thankful.
In town, there was no cell phone service, I just wandered around to businesses asking if they had a message for me from two other girls. The cashier at the general store said "yes" and handed me a sticky note with directions to the room they had rented for us in the lodge. Micro was taking a shower and couldn't hear my banging on the door, so I dropped my stuff and continued to wander.
I misjudged my caloric needs for this last section. I rationed so I never ran out of food, but I was never full. This last day, my calories consisted of my breakfast and a huge halvah roll. I was starving by the time I got into town at four, and the bakery was closed.
I knew that thoughtful Microburst would have foreseen this turn of events and would have bought me an extra goodie. With our plans for celebration and me not immediately shoving pastries down my gullet upon walkin into the hotel room, the treats became our munchy-food to share when we were drunk later. It was ok, I could handle the hunger as long as I didn't let low blood sugar make me cranky. Once the three of us were all showered, we'd eat dinner, then drink and do laundry, right? Wrong. Laundry, which always takes longer than we expect, was to take place before the last possible seating time at the restaurant so we could eat in clean clothes. By our 7:30 reservation, I was barely keeping it together (more stupid than snappy), and by 8:00, the restaurant realized that a huge party was taking too long and asked us waiting hikers (now including Ann, Tradja, Swipe, and their CDT friend Skittles) to take our food to-go. Tradja and Swipe said they can do to-go orders, but since they were camping in the wet and paying full-price for food, they wanted to eat inside. Our small-looking portions of food was served in quick-cooling clamshell boxes, we had to specially ask for things like drinks, condiments, and dessert. It was a very disappointed experience since we were paying so much. Hikers got the shit end of the stick there.
We didn't get drunk to celebrate, instead we split a cinnamon roll and crashed in our tiny but spendy inn room.
- Typoed on my iPhone