It’s 4:13am, my weary and allergy-abused eyes drag apart. I reach down and pet Yazhi who is curled between my legs. He knows it’s too early to be stirring and continues to slumber. I try to ignore the fact that it’s Earth Day and I’ll be boarding a plane soon. I push the covers back and take my last step out of my bed for the next five months.
Another foggy morning slowly emerges as my Mom and I drive to catch the 645am airporter. The SFO gift shop has Wild placed next to war novels. What do they think goes on out there? The Southwest terminal was the launching point for my 2013 Pacific Crest Trail thru hike also but this time my flight departs as scheduled.
As I glimpse the vast urban sprawl of Phoenix out my plane window, I can feel the moisture being sucked right out of my body. Dry as far the eye can see. Trail angel Uncle Steve meets me, I gather my box luggage and I admire the saguaro cacti out the air conditioned car window.
Trail angel Aunt Anne serves up the cold beers and I get to tour their incredible yard full of desert-friendly plants. The barrel cacti yellow flowers are just starting to push out, the sparrows sing sweetly. In good carb loading fashion, we have endless beers, pizza and ice cream. So you don’t have to worry about my ass.
I sort through my gear and realize I don’t have my sit pad. My precious. It’s just a piece of foam but I love that thing. We’ve traveled a lot of miles together. If our separation is too tough for me I’ll have my parents send it. After three hours sleep last night, I’m ready to collapse into bed just after 10pm.