Rainbow Bridge to Silverwood Lake
Miles: 310-330 (20)
It’s hard to explain what this experience is doing to me. I want to burn everything that I own, melt into a puddle, and get slurped up by the universe. I want to be everywhere and nowhere within the same moment. I need to go home–I’m already there.
I carry on through the canyon for most of the morning–the river below me shrinks to a stream, then a tickle. As I reach it’s end, the rock walls and boulders around me become more and more littered with the graffiti left behind by day hikers who travel here and linger in the chilled pools of water that this place provides. “Graffiti is not a crime,” one of the rocks sloppily displays. Twenty yards later, I pass a swastika. Everywhere and nowhere, I think to myself.
It’s late morning, and the trail spits me out into a dusty trailhead parking lot. There’s an old truck here with a camper resting on it’s back. Blue lawn chairs are scattered about, several of them filled with hikers. A strangly man introduces himself as Coppertone, then invites me to take a seat next to a box of cookies while he fixes a root beer float. The camper that he serves treats out of is his home, something that he constructed after his own PCT hike a few years ago. His enthusiasm for trail angeling reminds me of a jubilant old lady on Halloween, excited for the newest round of trick or treaters.
I lick the edges of my cup clean, extend my gratitude, and waddle back into the dry, dusty, afternoon. I ride Copoertone’s sugar high, until my gallop turns to a slog. I unfold my foam sleeping pad under a tree, nibble on trail mix and examine the quarter-sized blisters on the outside of my heals. My right pinky toe is shedding a layer of skin, disintegrating into the sock that it lives inside of. Dutchess and her younger sister, Gumdrop, join me towards the end of my siesta. The siblings from Minnisota are bubbly, quirky, good company. This is the first time I’ve mingled with them and we all have a good laugh when another hiker named Unicorn and her dog Charlie come along and inform us that we’re sitting beneath poison oak.