Miles: zero (first double zero!)
I wake just after six, finally feeling refreshed, human, myself again. I gather my scattered gear back into packable form and make french toast from the challah bread we baked last night. Topped with blueberries and soy yogurt, it is divine. Hanie is truly a trail goddess.
I walk the block and a bit to the farmer’s market (did I mention that Hanie lives in the best location ever, especially for a starving, but food conscious hiker), I walk up and down between rows of tables overflowing with the peak of stone fruit season. The air sweet with peaches and strawberries. I get caught up in a conversation with a vendor and a customer brag-splaining about some Segway-like hover (seriously!?!) vehicle he uses to get around. When I explain how I got to the market, the vendor smiles, and presents me with two carefully selected, perfect nectarines, though I have only spent a single dollar at the stand. Again, with generous humans.
I make one last round at the market, novelty nectarine-plums for Hanie, an avocado for my resupply, and a cucumber for Soccer Mom. I will be meeting her and her father at REI in Sacramento this afternoon. Hanie drops me early, bringing bread to a friend who works there, and leaving me with time to blog from Starbucks across the street.
After a long car ride across the hot valley and up into the hills we stop in Sonora for resupply. American flags line Main Street for the Fourth of July, like Disneyland without the people. The parade is long over; there’s just a single cop cleaning up. I add yet more items to my food bag already stuffed with Challah and tofu, and avocado, and more treats from Trader Joes. I do not want to be caught yogi-ing for food again, at least not on film.
Finally, we drive on the bumpy twisting climb up to the pass. The air is shockingly cool, and smells strongly of pine. Everything is damp with the raindrop remnants of another afternoon storm. Taking time away has made these details remarkable again, no longer filtered out as normal.
We set up tents beside picnic tables, not far from a “No Camping” sign. Cheese is here, who we are so happy to see, and yet more new PCTers. I share cookies, content again, returning to the trail full of the best food, bolstered by great friendship and encouraged by the caring comments from blog readers. I am ready to hike on.