Scruffy Man and Outback Girl

November 19th, 2021

We hike 19 miles today. This morning we realize we have one more mountain to climb, and it is the steepest yet. It’s hard to accept this close to the end and the temptation to end early is enticing. We’re literally hiking around Tucson, I can see the glittering lights from our camp. We can’t quit early, there’s only three more days to go. The final 4 miles of the day seem to take forever, it’s up hill and my legs and mind is tired. In my mind I am already off the trail, ready for whatever is next. I begin to resent the trail, it’s constant climbs and switch backs. I realize I haven’t looked up in a while, I’ve been staring at the trail. I take a second to catch my breath and look up. The view is breath taking and at once I am reminded that we are alone, out in the middle of nowhere hiking the mountains of Arizona. We had passed a few day hikers at the last trailhead and their remarks of “I’m envious” and “ I can’t do it because of ABC” come back to me and I know what we are doing is special. 

At camp Bobby is in charge of cooking while I take a wet nap bath. We argue a bit about food rations and settle on instant fettuccine alfredo cheesey mashed potatoes. It’s as delicious as it sounds but perhaps only on the trail. Second treat is hot coco and as we wait for the water to boil I have an idea. “Let’s sit back to back” best idea ever. Now to drink hot coco with a back rest. Bobby has a view of the moon, it’s full tonight, and I have one of the city lights. “Have you seen forest gump” Bobby asks me. And he recounts the scene of them sitting back to back. 

… 

November 20th, 2021

My first thought this morning when I woke up was “ I can’t believe we’re still out here”. Im sticky and cold all at once. The days have been hot and dusty, leaving us with salty sweat rings on our clothes. The sweat and dirt clings to me no matter how many times I clean myself with wet naps.

I feel dirty and cold as I snuggle closer to Bobby. I can’t believe we’re still out here, but the end is only a few days away. We begin the day by rationing our snacks and food for the hike. Each time we do this I always get more hungry. It’s always a lesson both in body and mind at this point. Gone are the days of eating mindlessly, now nothing matters but having enough food for tomorrow. We start our hike, today should be leisurely but we’re both feeling like we just want to be done. Bobby and I don’t say much as we hike, both of us in our own world. My mind is a radio, several songs are replaying and I try to tune them out by switching to a new song. The end result has me feeling like I’m simply changing channels on a bad radio. God bless America, Greece lightening, and hooky pooky replay over, over, and over again. 

Then the true hike begins, and we begin the climb. Again Bobby and I don’t say much as we continue our journey to the top of the mountain. Thankfully by this time all songs have ceased and in my mind I repeat the words, “All I do is hike, this is my world now”. We stop for water half way up our climb and eat our rationed snacks. Almost at once we are of the same mind, get to the top of the climb and start the decent. Gone is the leisurely hike of this morning. Now we are of the same mind and so we continue the hike. 7 miles up, and 7 miles down. At the top of the mountain we reach a spring, our next water resupply. Our shirts are soaked in sweat and at 8,000ft the wind chills us. I strip down to give my shirt a chance to dry and put on my puffy jacket. Bobby quickly does the same. I’m excited at this point because extra miles covered means extra snacks for the day. We have one last pop tart and savor each bite. At the top of the climb we take a moment to appreciate that this is our last major climb of this trip. We celebrate with a hug and a kiss, happy it’s over and appreciative all at once. As I hold Bobby close I scratch his scruffy beard. “I love you my scruffy man” and he responds with “I love you to my outback girl”. We are delirious, and now it’s time to go home.

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