We all seem to collectively wake at 5:30. One of the hikers grabs a beer from the fridge and turns the TV on.
It's 5:35am. I need to get out of here, this is too much.
I sit amongst them for a while. Waiting for things to open so I can run errands. Pedia and the rest of them plan to hike out today. I've decided to stay another night, if I can get this room refilled with other hikers. The rest of my group, Team No Trust should be coming in later this afternoon. Hopefully I can get all of us together again.
At 8am I step out. I need a new canister of fuel. The streets in the small town are blocked off and flooded with people. There's a bike race in town. I walk two miles and get my canister, when I get back to the hotel I decide to walk to the grocery store for a few extra resupply foods.
On my way there I run into AJ and Annie. I'm so happy to see them! AJ decides to join me and we walk together to the grocery store. I buy more Reese's, some cookies, roast chicken legs for dinner and a bottle of lotion for my skin. It's just not used to this level of dryness out here in the desert.
AJ and I make our way back. The chalet is temporarily packed with 12 or so hikers while the folks from the previous night get ready to head out. They're drunk and high as they leave and silence falls again. It's me, Bananas, AJ, Annie, DG and Make it Rain. There's talk of going to a movie later, and I decide to stay in. I need to do some writing and the alone time will be really helpful for me. We all mill about, napping and eating here and there. I sort and resort my food a few times and clean out my pack. I seem to have lost my hand sanitizer, but I DIY a bottle from the little squeeze tubes of shampoo from the bathroom and the communal hand sanitizer that was left in the room.
I nibble at tomatoes and salad greens and drink tea upstairs. There's a bottle of whiskey and dragonberry Bacardi being handed around and I pass on it.
Soon, it's evening and everyone is getting ready to leave. I secure myself in the loft on the couch, they all leave in a slightly drunken ruckous.
"Have fun kids! Be safe!" I say in a motherly tone.
There's sun beams coming through the window, small dust motes float through them. The shadow of waving cottonwood leaves dapples the bed. Alone. At last. I bask in it for a little bit and then I write as much as I can.
Rider and I text each other. This sort of distance has been a struggle for us and we've been navigating a weird space with each other. Other folks who left behind loved ones also seem to be in this space. It isn't easy. We're both extremely busy and occupied in our own respective worlds and it's hard to share everything over the phone or text. A large part of me just wants to get to Oregon now, so I can see him again. But this hike has only just begun.
I move to the bed, which ends up being a bad idea. I float in and out of sleep. Before I know it, it's 10 and I'm sleeping in a soft bed burried in the covers.