I wiggle my head out of my sleeping bag and reach for my phone. It blurts and beeps and hums on the tent floor.
“Fuck.” I hit snooze and pull the sleeping bag back over my head.
Eight minutes later. The alarm, again.
“Fuck.” I turn it off.
Roll onto my left side. Right side. Onto my stomach. Hear the zzzzzzip of Tuck’s tent door opening beside mine. The whooooosh of her little pocket stove firing to life.
“Fuck.” I open my eyes and admit defeat. The morning has won, just like it always does.
We break camp, fill our water bottles from the bathroom sink at the picnic area, slowly trickle out onto the trail as the sun rises. Tuck and K2 set out first, then Young Clint and I, followed by the others. It’s good to hike with him again. Feels like forever since we tackled the desert together on our 24-mile day into Warner Springs. My biggest so far.
I stop to shed my down jacket as the sun grows fiercer and higher in the sky. Also, to pee. Young Clint goes on ahead and it’s nice to hike alone. My feet feel good, my blisters hardening. Thickening. Turning to callus. I take my tiny iPod out of my hip pocket and put one ear bud in. Try to match the rhythm of my steps to the music. Jonathan Richman. Songs Ohia. Flower Travellin’ Band. Built to Spill. Look down at Silverwood Lake below me, behind me. In front of me, desert.