Wednesday, February 5, 2014

John Muir Trail: Day 16 — Rest at Edison Lake

First thing after waking up I visited the little shop at Vermilion Valley Resort, purchased a big bag of chocolate chip cookies and brought them back for Noah and Kai to eat in bed—and they lounged on the soft mattresses for a couple hours, reading newspaper comics, drawing pictures and writing postcards to family.

That set the tone for the remainder of our day—eat, rest and eat some more.

Pam and I did do a little work.  We washed clothes, scrubbed our camp dishes, bought more supplies to doctor the family’s blisters, and shed a little weight by mailing binoculars, books, a clunky knee brace and some other supplies back to San Diego.  But added together I spent at least a couple hours sitting barefoot in the shade, and we must have clocked half the day sitting at the diner as a family, stuffing as much food into our bodies as we could manage.

At dinner, between the main course and large plates of pie and ice cream, I asked the boys if they’d thought about the discussion we’d had a few days earlier.  “This is it.  We have to decide if we’re continuing on tomorrow.  Do you want to keep going?”

They looked at each other, as if trying to read each other’s thoughts before answering.  Then Noah turned to Pam and me.  “I think I’d kind of regret it if we quit.  I really like all being together out here like this.  I want to climb Mount Whitney, and it would feel neat to have done the whole trail, even though it’s hard.”

“Me too,” Kai said, still looking at his big brother.

“You guys have gotten so tough,” Pam said.  “It’s going to feel easier and easier.”

I felt like I’d just swallowed sunshine.  I waived the waitress over and ordered another Stone IPA.  “I’m proud of you guys.”

Later that evening, a group of hikers and campers gathered outside the cantina around a large fire.  Noah borrowed a guitar from one of the resort staff members and played a few Johnny Cash tunes before we made our way back to our room.  We had one more night with blankets and mattresses before setting out to complete the final 130 miles of the John Muir Trail.  We’d paid a pretty penny for the comfort, and we were going to bed early to soak it in. 

Read the full series by clicking on the links below:
Day 1 – Day2 – Day 3 – Day 4 – Day 5 – Day 6 – Day 7 – Day 8 – Day 9 – Day 10 – Day 11 – Day 12 – Day 13 – Day 14 – Day 15 – Day 16 – Day 17 – Day 18 – Day 19 – Day 20 – Day 21 – Day 22 – Day 23 – Day 24 – Day 25 – Day 26 – Day 27 – Day 28 – Day 29 – Day 30 – Day 31 – Day 32 – Day 33 – Day 34

J.S. Kapchinske is the author of Coyote Summer.