We slept without an alarm, not rousing until the sun was beaming down on us. We lounged in sleeping bags for an hour, talking, then made dirty chai lattes with extra coffee and talked more. At some point Crusoe set out breakfast, granola and flax milk and fruit, and we all rotated through turns stretching on the yoga mat and sitting in the camp chairs, shifting to follow the shade. Oh to sit upright in a chair!
As the day unspooled, we tried to plan to leave, but it was just too pleasant. We finally committed to only a few miles after dinner, and cracked ice cold afternoon beers, a rarity for me even in the front country. A hiker appeared on the road- I’d expected many but only seen a couple- and the neon pink shirt gave him away. “Pro!” “Is it okay if we invite him over for a little bit?” I asked Crusoe. “Yeah!” he agreed. “Pro, come sit in the shade!” Crusoe handed him some cold grapes (“tiny globes of water!” said my brother gleefully) and a beer, and a piece of chocolate pecan pie, and I wish I had photographed the look that crossed Pro’s face.
Later I felt bad we waylaid Pro for so long, but he was great company and fit right in with our little trio of quirkiness and deep conversation. That Midwest thing happened where I joined my brother in the kitchen/at the fire ring, and Pro and Prana lounged in the front room/ by the camp chairs, and we talked and laughed in our own conversations. Crusoe fried up the watermelon rinds (shockingly better than it sounds) and fried broccoli and leftover mac and cheese for lunch, and then kept handing out snacks, like a trainer distributing treats to his semi-tamed wild animals.
Eventually Pro carried on, we helped Crusoe clean up camp, Prana and I dug second cat holes, and then it was after 6:00 and time to go. My brother had set himself up to work this week remotely, so he would work while we finished hiking to Pie Town, and we would reconvene there.
The late light was beautiful and perfect, and we followed good trail tread up gentle hills through open juniper steppe, a bluish grey green ground cover seeming to reflect the mood of the sky as clouds roiled through the pastels of evening’s onset. 5 miles in we made camp on top of a mesa, and split the last of the pies.