Day 30: A Celebration

5/17

Today was Prana’s and my 7 year anniversary. 9 years together total. Hard to fathom, really, that it has already been that long.

We started the day by going to get pie- all sold out, 5 minutes after they opened. Oh well- we’d try, try again.

Next was laundry. Crusoe drove us back to Top of the World, with its eclectic curation of goods for sale- urns and vases and right wing patriotism and early 2000s movies on discount DVD- and its surprisingly adequate laundromat. On the way home, strike two for pies; I placed a request for one of each of whatever they made next. I took a little time to wander around, look more closely at the details of the cafe, and chat with Pro, who had just gotten into town late the night before.

A small, partially covered pavilion sat between camp and the pie place, and as rain kicked up and the wind squalled, that became home base for the afternoon. I edited, Prana read, we got to know a former hiker, Mud, supporting his wife on the trail, and their big old dog, Sprout, who Crusoe chased in play round and round the pavilion until they both collapsed panting on the concrete floor. At some point I went to see if any more pies had been made, and came back bearing chocolate cherry, peach, blueberry butterscotch, and blueberry-peach. Lord help all our arteries.

Crusoe had saved a special meal to cook for us for our anniversary, and – while I don’t wish to brag – for my own recollection in the future and to give him the full credit he deserves, I will describe it now. Keep in mind this was in the middle of nowhere, over 2 hours to the nearest grocery that could claim to carry produce, and cooked over a single MSR camp stove, since his second burner chose that moment to kick the bucket.

The first course was caprese salad- fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil. The main course was salmon seared and poached with some kind of dill-mustard-emulsion, with perfectly crisply seared and seasoned asparagus. Dessert was somehow our favorite coconut milk ice cream, Nada Moo, chocolate and strawberry cheesecake, no longer solidly frozen, but thawed to the exact consistency of a rich, airy mousse.

Then to top it off, he let us sleep in his van, which features a queen size memory foam mattress. And, oh my god, the pillows. I love my tent and I love my sleeping bag, but the plush expanse was too much to pass up. “I’m going to sleep at the Toaster House anyway,” he said as he hoisted his backpack, because he’s the type who loves to stay up late with 30 other people, “so you may as well use it.”

It was sheer comfort.

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