Saturday, September 3 While waiting for Sam to arrive at Chinook Pass, everyone speculated as to how long it would take him. Given the recent ankle injury, I believed Sam would be considerably slower to complete the 70 miles. Believing that we had a decent chunk of time before we needed to film again, the film crew decided to leave Chinook Pass in search of gas and to perform the humbling task of dumping our waste tanks. I recently received a request (hey mom!) to share more of the nitty gritty details of #RV livin' on the blog, so, request granted.
In an RV, there are two waste tanks, grey and black. The former contains waste drained from the sink and shower. The latter, and more sinisterly named, contains waste from our toilet, otherwise known as urine and shit. These tanks fill up quickly and often, requiring the RV owner to frantically drive around smelling the unpleasant aroma of sewage, in search of a proper place to "dump." But here's the thing, once the RV owner has located an RV park willing to allow this little ritual, the RV owner must then pay to do so. It just seems so inherently wrong to me that we have to pay to empty tanks of our own human waste, but I must remind myself that this is just RV livin' and the rules are different.
Our tanks at Chinook Pass were so full that we couldn't run the sink to clean our dishes and we definitely couldn't use the toilet. With our own shame and disgust motivating us, we set out for the nearest town. The nearest town of Ashford was probably over 50 miles away through Mount Rainier National Forest on mountain roads that twisted and turned as they increased in elevation, which, in an RV, gives one the feeling that it will fly off a cliff and crash in a fiery explosion. We were also low on gas. Given the Labor Day Weekend crowd, exponentially increased by the beautiful weather, the roads were scary and I was starting to freak out. After a slight and unintentional detour to the base of Mt. Rainier (what a beauty!) we finally reached Ashford with a collective sigh of relief. After loading up on gas, we drove to the only RV park that had vacancy left, connected the black tube from our RV to a hole in the ground and dumped our shit.
Driving back to Chinook Pass, feeling lighter and content, I thought about the common denominator that all RVs share. You might have a 1999 Chateau Sport or a brand new 2012 Itasca Navion by Winnebago, but at some point or another, everyone has to dump their shit tanks. Hmm how poignant. About a half an hour after we got back to the PCT trailhead parking lot, Ben ran into the RV and grabbed his camera, yelling, "he's back!" A minute later, Sam barreled in, all fired up because he had come in early and was feeling good.
Being unprepared, but happily surprised by Sam's arrival, we scrambled to give him whatever caloric foods we had like cheese, M&Ms, and pistachio nuts. Sam told us that he had walked through the pain of his ankle until it didn't seem to hurt anymore, how he had found a trail angel with a cooler of Mountain Dew, beer, apple sauce, and other delicacies that are so rare on the trail. Sam said that the beautiful weather had allowed him amazing views of Mount Rainier and it became obvious that all these things had contributed to the psychological uplift that Sam had needed so badly needed post-injury. After a brief rest, Sam took off again around midnight, while we drove south to White Pass for a 6 a.m. hike in to meet Sam at Sand Lake and went to bed happy to be back on track.
Cecily "Crazy Legs" Mauran