Unzipping that bivy is the hardest thing I do some mornings. Cold mornings and painful ones, especially. It was nearly eight when I finally tried stepping with my fucked-up left foot. I grabbed the nearby log to steady myself. Wincing, unsteadily wobbling, I wrenched my body upright. I stooped for a trekking pole, stumbled, fumbled the damned thing, nearly fell, then propped myself up with the log and poorly angled pole. Heel, ankle and achilles pain shocked me with each step. I hobbled toward a small, chattering group of hikers in hopes of determining the location of the steep-ass water trail. Smiles, a massage therapist who had passed me the night before, responded y immediately offering to get water for me. Guess I looked bad. I held back a set of days-barely-restrained tears and thanked her. Not trusting myself to make any miles for that day, I convinced myself that I could zero in a mountain-top hurricane if necessary.
Water was gathered. I offered to identify plants and animals in grateful exchange. Having given up on hiking, I curled my legs back into the bag and made breakfast. There were sighs of desperation, I'm sure. Frustration, too. Then I heard, "Crotalus!" Magically, Grasshopper and Coyote came rushing toward me. Coyote massaged some of the demons out of my calves and thighs; my ankles became a bit more pliable. They scooped me up and walked me to Wrightwood.
In town, eating pizza, we encountered a local woman named Pam who sat fascinated listening to our stories. Our tales inspired some sense of charity and adventure in her, and she invited us home. Stopping at the supermarket, we added K2 to our number. Pam's husband, an Alzheimer's sufferer, seemed to enjoy our company. They gave s showers, laundry facilities, and allowed Coyote and Grasshopper to make enchiladas for all of us. Everett Ruess and Edward Abbey were discussed at length over the course of the evening as we drank beer and enjoyed the home-cooked meal. The four of us settled onto patches of carpet around 9pm, pleased and surprised with our fortune.