I wake up to howling wind and do everything extra-fast, super-focused. Eat granola, make coffee, dig cat hole, pack up sleeping bag. The sooner we walk, the sooner I may get warm.
Up. Down. Up. Down. The ridge is steep and I feel as though I'm crawling along. Five miles, I keep telling myself. Five miles until we go down for real. Five miles until it gets warm. It takes us over two hours, but eventually we descend off the ridge.
The winds calm down to only a slightly aggressive breeze and we walk through a steep burn area, improvising until we find the trail winding its way along the slope. We're pleased to find that the thickets and scrub oaks are sparse today. With only a few along the path to remind us of yesterday's pain. My legs now look like I got into a fight with a kitten.
The trail becomes a real footpath again. All wide and inviting. What's the big deal? I've been here the whole time, it says. Not like this, not since yesterday morning! I try to tell it.
We reach another dirt road. Today, I am grateful for the road walking. So simple. So clear and wide. After several miles a pickup truck stops at our outstretched thumbs and we ride in the back. Swept away to the highway where we find another ride into town. If you can call it that. There is a small hotel and a dollar store. A shower and bed is all we need for the moment, so we are content.
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