My Birthday

Day 46:

Trail angels are amazing. Birthdays are spectacular. Put the two together, and you have my favorite day of a lifetime.

Coming into Walker Pass, Special K told us that her parents would be meeting any of us that made it to the pass for a Friday celebration with tacos, tamales, hotdogs, great company, and shade. She then made sure to mention to her parents that there were four of us with birthdays (House, Sniper, and Prince are also excellent Taureses), and that all of us liked beer. Before you knew it, the whole family was on a mission to walk fast and furious to arrive at Walker Pass for a late morning beer on the coming Friday.

Indeed, her parents were amazing! They brought many comfortable camp chairs, several coolers with cold drinks, a grill and many things being cooked up on it, and excellent snacks.

Better than this, they brought themselves and their own stories. Special K’s mom runs ultramarathons. When I say ultra I mean “ultra-ultra:” she runs 100 milers, 50 Ks regularly, and even a four day long race! So, I think this family sort of “gets it“ as to why in the world are we walking so many miles. They were very inspirational to keep us knowing that some people do understand the bug that makes us thru hike, even those who are not hiking with us right now. And they helped us feel special and catered to with all of the right treats for the end of the desert stretch.  They even went for a second run to town for more supplies!

Special K’s parents entertained the extended trail family from mid morning on Friday through mid morning on Saturday without a single moment empty of laughter. When I woke on Saturday morning, I heard coffee boiling on the grill. As I got up to have one, the pancakes begin to sizzle. The group quietly but with grins begin to emerge from cocoons on the desert floor. My grin was biggest of all: it was my birthday this day. I went around telling everyone “it’s my birthday!“ Then I ate pancakes until I could eat no more. I drank three coffees. I watched the day begin with energy and joy and pretended all the fuss was about me. This birthday was like the greatest hug I could imagine.


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