day 58 (Pete)

Well, I left Tuolomne Meadows in a horrible mood. The package didn’t come; so, our time spent waiting was kind of a waste. We did eat plenty of food and had some good conversations. One guy even insisted on giving us five bucks.

Perhaps I am just feeling homesick and left out. Its a fun time of year back home with school getting out. Well, I guess schools out forever. That part of my life is over. It seems like today is the day I’m feeling the limbo. Letting the janitor give me a silly conservative haircut may have been a subconscious act of solidarity with my friends back down south. They will be attending graduation ceremonies soon. We will all soon be involved with the trappings of the adult world. It is really the most respectable hair-do I’ve had in years. I think it’s what they call “layered.” Certainly, it’s the most respectable cut I’ve ever gotten with a beer in my hand. Granted, on those occasions the scissors have always been in my other hand.

Not getting that package was a bummer. Dealing with a shortcoming of the civilized world and having to wait it out in an edifice of civilization was an overload. I felt like I was on the brink of having to do laundry, check the oil in the car, pay the phone bill. Last night I had a little chat with the powers of the universe. After pleading my case I conceded that I would accept getting the items in the package when I needed them most, as long as they wouldn’t be gone forever. Perhaps I felt that truly I needed them most today. For peace of mind if nothing else.

Afternoon miles kind of sloughed off the layers of disappointment and despair. After three miles I could cope. After six I could joke. Tonight after fourteen miles and two hair raising back to back creek fords no discontentment is left. All there is to do is walk the 150 miles to Echo Lake and see if it was forwarded. No sense in worrying every step of the way. Its just that it is important for me to transform my status through the proper cultural codes; and, I need that box to do so. A large part of my future came into question today. As a result I feel very disjointed. These words are much more free associated than usual.

The terrain has changed considerably. We are now in Yosemite, land of the great gray granitic domes. It is beautiful country. We have many deep canyons to cross the next few days. The guide book uses the term “two dozen switch-backs,” quite often for this section. No cake walk. Deep chasms cut through the glacier smoothed formations. Tomorrow looks, “Wacky,” was Dyl’s word. Three or four large climbs and as many descents, five of more big fords. There is still some snow around. Not as much. The elevation is generally lower. After Sonora Pass we drop below 10,000 feet never to gain that height again.

We had our first encounter with ranger friendly this afternoon. He was heading back toward the highway about five miles into our day. He asked us for our “Wilderness Permits.” Forays into wilderness areas require permits obtained by the ranger station. We cross into and out of wilderness areas on very frequently. Obtaining a permit for each of them would be a paper pushing nightmare. Dyl tried to obtain a mysterious PCT permit that would cover the entire trail. Though we had heard tale of such a thing no one would owe up to having jurisdiction to issue such a permit. So, we skipped getting permits entirely. We told this all to the ranger and he seemed vaguely sympathetic. He let us on down the trail with a warning. Ten miles later, after wading a thigh deep raging torrent only to struggle across a hip deep and wider river twenty feet later, Dylan quipped, “There’s the last of our ranger encounters.”

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