Day Seventeen: Change of Plans

Zero in Idyllwild
0 miles


I wake up early but spend a long time just lying in bed. What a luxury. I eventually wake up and walk to the coffee shop to get a soy chai latte. Another luxury! Then I head back to the Red Kettle to have brunch with Cate, Mike, Lynn, Raw Hide, and Colleen. Luxury upon luxury upon luxury! I feel very spoiled.

At brunch we see Caddy, Hobo, and Blossom. Caddy tells me I am always “so animated” and I accept the observation as a compliment. I first met Caddy and Hobo briefly in the little store in Mt. Laguna, when I was taking my very first zero to fix my blistered feet. Now that seems like forever ago. I don’t know them very well yet but I’d like to know them better – I think they seem so wonderful. They met on the Appalachian Trail and have hiked a lot together since then. They are both retired – Caddy was an elementary school teacher and Hobo had a career in the Navy – and they are so warm and hilarious. I feel safe around them.

We all discuss our plans for tomorrow. Bad weather is coming. We’re at higher elevation than we’ve been for the past few days and bad weather could mean snow. It could mean dangerous conditions. I want to leave tomorrow – I am still second guessing myself and feeling as though I should have left today, should be on the mountain right now with Lionheart and Apple Juice and all my smart friends who had the foresight to get going to try to beat the bad weather – but I feel worried about this storm. Will it be safe to hike? Will we be able to summit Mt. San Jacinto? Should we stay an extra day? Caddy and Hobo are wanting to leave tomorrow, and so are we. But we’re not sure if it’s a good idea. But we’re all really ready to be back on trail.

Ugh. Have I mentioned I hate the logistics part of thru-hiking?

I head back to the gear shop to buy rain pants and discuss potential plans. Cate joins me. The guys who were nonchalant and blasé about the weather yesterday seem to have changed their minds, and they advise us not to hike out tomorrow. It won’t be good conditions; we’ll probably get wet and we won’t have a chance to dry out for a while because the bad weather may stick around for a few days. Do we want hypothermia or trench foot? No, we do not. We definitely do not.

It looks like we’ll be staying in Idyllwild for a bonus zero. I’m less excited about that than I thought I would be; mostly I feel anxious and weird about taking so much time off the trail. We’ll never make it to Canada at this rate, my brain screams. Shut up, I try to tell it. We’re not thinking about Canada right now, we’re just trying to get past this mountain! Sheesh.

When we get back to the lodge we hang out in the big communal room for a long time. There’s a fire place and hot water for tea and I’m happy, even if our changing plans are giving me anxiety. I really hate the level of anxiety that has accompanied me on this hike so far; I am used to hiking alleviating my stress, not creating it. This is different than a day hike in Forest Park, though.

Our little crew – me, Cate, Mike, and Lynn – talks it over and we decide it will be smartest to stay an additional night. Caddy texts me to say that’s what she and Hobo are doing, too. Well. That’s that, then. Another zero in Idyllwild, coming right up. I feel really dumb for telling Alley not to visit this weekend – we could have spent three full days together! I feel down in general. I think I will feel better when I’m back on trail, but for now I just feel blue.

We stay up late chatting, now that we know we won’t have to wake up early to hike. Our conversation winds through many interesting topics and lands on queerness. I realize that straight people keep asking me for a definition for this word/identity/community, and I don’t have a very good one. Or, my brain can’t formulate the thoughts and words for a deep, meaningful definition during this thru-hike. So if any of my queer friends reading this would like to offer some definitions of what it means to be queer and why we’ve added the Q to LGBTQ, I’d love that! The people who have been asking me about queerness are doing so with positive intentions and I’ve felt happy talking about it – I am just dissatisfied with my own answers to the question. Thank you in advance!

Mike and Cate generously give away the extra food from their resupply boxes – they’ve been sending themselves too much so I often benefit, getting their leftover prepackaged meals and Clif bars, Stinger waffles and Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter. Between my leftover food from the last section, the small box I sent myself, the box my mom sent me, and Cate and Mike’s leftovers, I don’t even need to go to the store to resupply.

I spend the rest of the night trying to catch up on blog posts and feeling stressed about my blog. I don’t know how to write about the guys we met a few nights ago and so I’m not writing at all and I’m falling behind. This is too big a project to fall significantly behind on. I have to catch up!

But sleep is calling, and I’m exhausted even after doing nothing all day. I close my eyes, expecting to wake up to snow.

15 thoughts on “Day Seventeen: Change of Plans

  1. Ben hiking says:

    Hey Scissors! Thought I would try to give my feeling on queerness as a fellow queer and I agree that it is a tough thing to define since it means so many things to whomever uses the term to help define themselves (cuz labels) … I think for me being queer makes more sense to be all encompassing of our changing identities as LGBT people. As a transguy I do not feel that just using trans or “passing as a guy” (whatever that junk means) really identifies who I am and who I have been. I do not identify as a “straight” person nor would I want to stick myself in the LGBT categories any more either, so having the word queer is super amazing to help me keep my identity in my community. It just feels like the older options are too narrow for all of the amazing array of magic sparkle ponies in this world. Plus I think using the term queer ties our community together so much more, we can all be queer together and help each other fight against hate in a united Queer front! Rather than before where it was every lesbian or gay for themselves and trans people were really on their own and hidden away. I could write about this forever so I think I will stop there, haha! Keep trucking and posting your badass blogs! Much love from this queer 🙂

  2. Justine M Portmann says:

    I love using the word queer, reclaiming it from its slanderous history, because it has the capacity to hold all kinds of beautiful relationships outside the cis-hetero “norm”, in intersection and community with one another. As a femme cis-woman attracted to masculinity but never deeply connecting/falling in love with cis-men (and also not enjoying the sex tbh), the word queer resonates for me and my relationships in ways that being a “lesbian” never did, my significant partners (past and current) are trans*, and the word “queer” gives space for my identity and his/their identity in equal measure. Also, as a word, it’s fun to say. 🙂 ❤

  3. Jenny Bruso says:

    I like what Ben said. I also want to be succinct, lolz, simply queerness for me is being “not straight” but not totally one other thing either. Like, I’m okay with being called a lesbian or dyke, but that’s also not entirely true. I also feel like “queer” encompasses political ideals and identity and like Ben said, community.

  4. Zuhgunruhe says:

    No need to seek a label and define it. I’m a 60 yr mwm, 2 children, that has loved on so many different levels, male and female alike. Some deeply sensual and others bonding in a spiritual kinship. The only label you need…human.

  5. RMD says:

    I’m a queer cis woman – I often use queer because it’s much easier than explaining that I’m married to a woman but I have dated guys and non-binary people, and I’d ID as ‘lesbian’ but that’s not really accurate, and I’d ID as ‘bi’, but that’s an identification that sometimes engenders questions and can be complicated to explain, and ‘queer’ is a nice one-syllable word. It’s a more expansive identification that often has political implications, too, thanks to Queer Nation et al. And I have a soft warm place in my heart for the phrase “not gay as in happy but queer as in fuck you.”

  6. Christine says:

    Second what Ben and Jenny said. For me for a long time I identified as bi because that was the only label I had to categorize myself, but it never really felt right. Queer feels much more all encompassing of the fluidity of my sexual and gender identity. I vascilate among gender performances and calling myself queer gets to cover that in addition to the people I’m interested in having some sexy/romantic/non-platonic times with.

  7. meghaparsec says:

    Queer is definitely a work with a specific generational fluency. Oftentime, I hear young queers claim that queer is political in a way that ‘gay’ maybe isn’t, or doesn’t feel so much anymore. And when you have a broad age group all together, old lesbians and dykes will tell you that they claimed those labels in much the same spirit. I personally identify as a (cis) queer femme, which def gets all kins of questions too. I always think about Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha describing Femme as finding a way to be a girl in this world that doesn’t hurt. I like that because its kind of like taking all the ingredients I already have, and rebuilding something new – somthing that was a girl and is still a girl, but with fundamental structural differences.

  8. mapreaders says:

    Ditto what others have said about queer. For me its the only word that actually accounts for the fact that I’m attracted to people of a variety of gender identities. But also it has a political connotation that I want to embrace. It’s not just about who I date, it’s about refusing to accept cisheteronormativity as a de facto model for how I and others should live their lives. –Cyn

  9. cjgiaimo says:

    others have said this but yeah, i think the word queer opens up space—both for people who it resonates with to identify in a variety of ways under the same banner, and also for everyone to realize that the stories society tells us about how the world was, is and could be (and how people were, are, and could be) are often missing this big beautiful slanty perspectival possibility. it’s a word that just reminds me, in different contexts, ‘you don’t have to do it this way—you could do it this other way.’

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