Onyx Summit mile 252.1 – Hwy 18 mile 266.114 miles
When we left the cabin this morning, Wang and I had every intention of staying on trail and camping tonight, while the rest went back to the cabin to spend time with Lisa’s mother. We did the whole shuttle thing, dropping a car at the day’s end point, cramming six people into a small truck and driving to the starting point.
We knew there was a chance of rain and snow and we were…prepared. Or, at least we thought we were. It was a nice day to hike. Not too hot, not too cold. We were a merry band! A couple of miles in, it started to rain little, dry snow pellets. Fun! We put on our rain coats and trod on in a line.
Maybe six miles in, the little pellets became flakes. Pretty! Interesting! And on we walked, enjoying the day.
The flakes grew larger, larger, cotton-ball-sized. We stopped for lunch and quickly realized it was too cold for such nonsense. This is when I hit my low point. I don’t know if you’ve picked up on this, but I hate being cold, especially my hands and feet. I told the others to hike on without me while I unpacked my entire bag to get my mittens out of my clothes bag, cursing the entire time. How did I not foresee that I might need them and leave them accessible? Then cursed because the thing about mittens is that, once you have one of them on, it’s really hard to get the other one on and impossible to get the sleeve of your raincoat down over the cuff. I was getting colder by the minute.
I got packed up, stopped trying to fix my raincoat, hiked on. Quickly. As fast as I could go, just to keep myself warm. On and on I walked, kicking myself the whole way. Why did I come out here? What was I thinking? If this is what happens now, what will happen when I get to the Sierra? I have a very nice, comfortable, warm, dry life in Nashville! Why would I leave all of that to come out here to freeze to death on the side of a mountain?! What am I trying to prove?
It was probably my darkest moment on trail so far, intensified by the homesickness and insecurity I’ve been feeling the past three days. Why do I never feel like I fit in anywhere? Why can’t I just chill out, like myself a little more, assume that others actually want me around, stop worrying that everyone will eventually see right through me and realize I’m not cool-smart-interesting-good enough, stop being so damn desperate to fit in, and just be content with where I am and the way things are? Huh? Huh? Geez!
Right about the time I started warming up and feeling a little less crazytown, I caught up with everyone. The snow was so thick and starting to stick to the ground and us. Being back in the company of friends made things a little easier. I decided that when we got back to the car, I would hitch into town and get a hotel room for the night. I was soaked and freezing and just needed to be inside one more night. Plus, it was supposed to keep snowing into the night.
When we got back to the car, the group wouldn’t hear of Wang and I going to a hotel, so we all six of us squeezed into Matt’s tiny Honda and back to the cabin we went. Wang and I didn’t want to intrude on family time, but we were so grateful to be in the warm company of friends for the night.
A fire in the fireplace, dry clothes, whiskey, Thai takeout, several games of cards, classic rock. Hike your own hike.
So, tomorrow we get a bit of a do-over. No turning back. It’s a 50% chance of rain tomorrow, but I think we’ll all be more prepared for whatever comes our way.
Today I met no one new.
Today I learned:
– If I know there is a good chance of rain or snow, I should have all necessary items of clothing and gear easily accessible, and I should put them on before things get serious.
– How to play nine-square.
Today’s hike was powered by the desire to be warm and dry.