Miles 1004.4 – 1016.9
July 16th, 2017
Just after you climb up and through Sonora Pass, you descend on down towards Highway 108. Depending on the current snowpack in the Sierra you are either going to hike down . . or in my case slide on your ass a few thousand feet on what would later be remembered as the longest, most painful glissade of the entire trail. I had wondered if I should put my pants on for this one, it looked steep . . but every glissade by this point was a total breeze; not worth the time to take off your shoes and put the pants on. GOOD LORD DID I MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION. I put ’em on, pushed off with my ice axe and away I went. Immediately I realized this was no everyday slide on my ass, this was going to be something else altogether. I began moving, like . . really moving. I jammed my axe into the snow in attempt to slow down this out-of-control-train-with-no-breaks but it didn’t seem to help at all. Jagged ice, gaps in the track, by the time I stopped I was bleeding and afraid to look.
By the time Dixie and I made it to the road we had lost the others in the group, but at this point in the hike we really weren’t too worried about each others well-being. We figured they were fine, so we went out to the road and gave the passing cars the good ol’ thumbs up. The first hitch we got was two guys in a decked out van, one of them fancy sprinter vans. They had left the wives at home to come up and camp for the weekend, andddd I’m pretty sure we had only gotten the ride because of Dixie’s blonde hair, so I made sure to let her know as soon as we got out. They dropped us off at Highway 395, still leaving about 15 miles to get to the town of Bridgeport. Again, our thumbs raised high in the sky as people zipped past us at seventy-five miles per hour. The second ride was from three guys of Middle Eastern descent, nice enough . . they cranked out some Bollywood Indie-Pop tunes that I was pretty okay with. I mean . . the car had air conditioning.
We met everyone at the Sportsmen’s bar in Bridgeport, and as I walked in I saw all the guys sitting quietly at the bar drinking their beers, gazing away at their newfound love: Nancy.
Nancy was a bartender that for no other reasonable explanation must have been on the run from the law. It sure wasn’t fitting for such a gorgeous girl to be living and working in Bridgeport, California . . population five hundred something. We figured she was a serial killer, or someone along those lines, but we were totally okay with it. She was nice, to look at – not much of a bartender or employee though, as she mostly stood off to the side glued to her phone. Halfway through a gulp of my beer I had a revelation. I stopped, and made the comment, “SHIT, IT’S BEEN FOREVER SINCE WE’VE SEEN A GIRL!” Dixie, at that moment dropped her fork, turned to me and said, “Really Butt’rs?!” I recklessly backtracked and reassured her that we were now brother and sister in hiking arms, and to think of her in that way would be super weird.
Many beers later, well past 2 am, we made it back to our rusty old hotel room and wrote a song for Nancy. An homage if you will. The song’s title read: Nancy, oh Nancy.