> jumping into life.


coming out of the backcountry is hard. we had the lake to ourselves for four days, not another person, and neither a bear nor mosquito the whole time. fishing and sunlight and silence. above the treeline you lose even the usual "wilderness" sounds - no birdcalls, no crickets, just the wind across bare rock. out is all downhill, and once you get a rhythm you don't want to stop for anyone or anything. by the time we got to nevada falls, the trail was full of dayhikers and people coming up for a night at little yosemite, and we looked around in vague claustrophobia as they passed. the final descent, a straight mile down after the switchback of doom, and nobody has a pack, lots of kids and older adults, and we fly past them chanting popsicle, blueberries, shrimp cocktail, milk. strange the things you crave after a week of freeze-dried crap.

when we get to the bus, finally, we crowd through to the back. people stare. i take up three seats, my pack to one side, sprawling, pure entitlement. after 45 miles of hiking, bum knee, spider bites, sunburn: this bus is mine. i relish in my dirt and stink. the bus moves unbelievably fast, the valley is jostling and throbbing with people. when we get to the ahwahnee bar, the background music makes me antsy, but i tell you, corona has never tasted so good.


we leave for the high country tomorrow. if i'm not eaten by a bear, i'll be back the 13th.