I woke to Josh dressing and tossing everything out of the tent. I lay there waiting to see if he was going to say anything but he just got out and zipped the mesh in the tent equivalent of a slamming door. "So we're still fighting?" I said, with no response. I sat up to get dressed and started crying. I was not expecting this morning to go like this, I figured we'd wake up and cuddle and talk about the fight but it seemed we weren't done yet. I tossed all my gear outside and made a beeline for the bathroom. I was bawling hard. I tried to get it together but this meltdown was nuclear. I went back to the tent and started to fight. We went round and round, Josh saying he always compromises for my needs and I wasn't compromising for his. I told him I didn't even know it was a need since he said he needed to sleep in, in a joking manner. On and on we danced and I was really defensive, pulling out my classic "fuck you go do whatever you want, I'm not changing" move, a reactive deflection I learned after my divorce. I spent most of my marriage and my childhood putting my needs on the back burner for everyone else's. When I got divorced I swore I'd never do that again and now it seems I've gone full asshole. Time to find a balance. We reached somewhat of a common ground and I finished packing and tried to choke down a pop tart while crying. I could not get it together.
I cried hard while we hiked out of camp and for probably a good mile before I could start to articulate my feelings. I apologized and Josh stopped, turned and apologized too. Both of us truly sincere this time. We talked about how to communicate in the future to avoid this kind of fight and found new understanding of the other. I still spent some time fighting my scumbag brain who had latched on to Josh's "you cant keep up with me" thing. It took most of the climb out of Horseshoe Meadow for me to finally rebut my brain's attacks. The winning rebuttal was a trick I learned from an AA circuit speaker named Bob Earle...I let my brain say all it's going to say and retort with "brain, where do you get your information?! You've never even been outside!" Today that seemed to work to at least turn down the volume.
We climbed back to Chicken Spring Lake to get water and saw Chemo Robbie hiking out on the trail. We cameled up and ate a snickers with peanut butter before packing up. The hike out of Chicken spring left me gasping for air at more than 11k but the views were amazing. Once over the pass we spent most of the day descending under a sky filled with whispy clouds. I told Josh we were sure to have a thunderstorm this afternoon with so much moisture in the atmosphere so early in the day. He disagreed saying he never gets weather. Mmm hmmm we'll see about that.
We passed by two rangers who asked if we had permits. Josh told them it was buried in his pack but he'd be happy get it and I started to dig in my side pouch. The ranger said it was ok, that he didn't need to see it and told us to have a good day. We stopped shortly after for lunch and wondered where all our food had gone. Hopefully we packed correctly for this leg. We seem to be dunces in the resupply department lately.
After lunch we continued to descend toward Rock Creek which was to be our first river ford. We chatted briefly with a group of hikers at a small creek before pushing on to the big water. Rock Creek was a wide creek but there were rocks and logs to walk on to keep your feet dry. We sat on the banks after crossing and tried to decide what we were going to do. We planned to hike another couple miles to Guyot Creek where we would get water and see about hiking on or camping.
The trail climbed steeply out of Rock Creek with huge steps built in to the trail and steep switchbacks. I hiked slowly up, stopping briefly to catch my breath and take a sip of water. All day I did not ask to take any breaks, I just handled my own needs quietly which sometimes made me fall behind but I didn't care. I refused to ask Josh to stop for me. I'm stubborn like that. Meh. I think I did a good job I keeping up most of the day, even on the up hill at 11k and managed to pass a group of weekend warriors on their way to Whitney.
We topped out in an area called Guyot Flats just before the creek. The sky was dark and gray as we prepped to get water. The weekend warriors crossed the creek and we talked with them for a while about water purification, bear bags, pack weight, all that stuff that weekend warrior think about. I used to be just like them, a total gear head and now I could give a shit about talking gear. It's so weird how things change when you're out here daily.
The weekend warriors took off up the trail and Josh and I noticed some big fat rain drops hitting the rocks. We talked about the ramifications for our mileage vs food plan and decided it was feasible to stay here and stay on track. We looked for a place that wouldn't flood if the rain got bad and set up the tent next to a wide but short Lodgepole pine.
Once we got the tent most of the way erected a flash of lightening light up the sky followed by a boom of thunder that shook the ground. HOLY SHIT. We tossed all of our gear inside the tent and watched as the rain turned to big fat balls of sleet. We stood outside for a long time in the storm as I was too afraid to get in the tent since it was under that tree. A group of hikers stood near the creek and all of us were wide eyed and freaked out. The storm went for over an hour with lightening and thunder and most of the hikers pitched their tents amongst the trees too. We couldn't stand it anymore and got inside the tent. I was scared and sat in a ball willing it to pass until my hunger got the better of me. The thunder and lightening did dissipate and Josh and I ate snacks in the tent while discussing proper bear safety. :-)
The storm let up enough for us to go outside and cook dinner which we did before climbing inside for the final time.
Right now it's 8:45 and the storm has stopped and Josh and I are tucked into our sleeping bags and warm clothes. I turned to Josh and said, "tell me something nice" to which he replied with a smirk, "I like you...sometimes." :-P
Tomorrow we make our way to the base of Forester Pass and hope there will be no thunder storms while we're there! Forester is all that stands between me and Schatt's Bakery. Get outa my way.
Until tomorrow, goodnight.