Alpo is talking about Rasta Birds and where we’re meeting tonight. I announce that I’m dead and start thinking about dragging myself out of my sleeping bag. I was cold last night, and realized halfway through that my tent wasn’t zipped up all the way. My sleeping bag has been continually damp from condensation from breathing into it.
Breaking camp is slow in the wind and the cold. I look at the food I have left and I think I need more snacks. Farkle and Alpo head out and a bunch of us head to the store to pick up food. I sit on the porch and arrange my pack and then head down the side of the road to the trail.
It’s very windy and the trail winds along the side of an enormous plateau, the valley floor below fading with the distance. Brown valley floor! Finally brown! I can’t wait. Even though this chaparral and green is pretty, brown is home. I’m grumpy and slow and I don’t see anyone for several hours. Whisper passes me. Finally I sit down to eat some food out of the wind and I feel better. I see my first day hikers, and Jack Haskel from the PCTA passes me. He’s wearing a name tag.
I filter water from the horse trough and faucet at Pioneer Mail trailhead. Then off I go, the drop off to the right even steeper than before. The trail follows an old road and there’s a concrete barrier, rock slides eating up the road. There’s a rock with a bunch of memorials for people, bikers i guess, or maybe thru-hikers, since they all have nicknames like Papa Bear and Pounder. I talk for a while with a guy named Dylan, and say goodbye to him when we reach the campsite where everyone said we’d meet. Only Tommy is here, Alpo is up ahead somewhere. I try to set up my tent and I can’t in the sandy soil and wind, so I text my mom and ask if I can switch tents with her freestanding one.
I sit with everyone and I read an Amazon review for Haribo Sugar Free gummy bears out loud after Tommy passes around a bag of gummy bears. (Look it up yourself, I recommend it).
The sunset is pink and yellow around us. Tommy starts one of his stretching “twerk” parties and I handily excuse myself to lend Colleen a stake for her tent. We’re going into Julian the day after tomorrow and planning on possibly zeroing there.
I get into my cowboy camp’d sleeping bag. Tommy comes up and tells us his new trail name is Twerk.