Right now, I am sitting in the shade of a beautiful oak tree while my best trail-bud Rachel serenades me with a guitar she found inside the town of Warner Springs' recreation center. Within the past couple hours, I have scarfed a double patty burger, drank (drunk?) two Mt.Dews, showered for the first time in over a week, personally popped my first blister myself (Trail Mom Chris popped my other first blister -- I was too sissy to do it myself), washed all my clothes in the shower, and now sit here in total peace. The temperature is a sweet 77 degrees. We are parked here waiting for our washed clothes, and popped-blisters, to dry. I can not explain how good it feels to be clean. I can't figure out how I get so much dirt on my face everyday! Having showered, I can see that my face has developed a nice base-coat tan. I have been the dorky kid on trail using my umbrella everyday, but that shit is so awesome! From 11am until 4am (while the sun is high) I am walking in shade! Only when it is windy does it suck. Yesterday, I was walking around a mountainside with a narrow trail and steep drop off to my left, and the wind began blowing so hard! It was my first wake-up call to the power of mother nature while on trail. I stood there, bending my knees trying to firmly plant them into the rocky trail, with both hands holding the sides of my umbrella tucked near my head, practically praying that "death by umbrella launching off cliff" was not going to be in my obituary. The moment the wind stopped, I immediately dismounted my umbrella from my pack, and continued the day with my sun-hat on. The breeze now feels pleasant as I sit here writing this.
Thank you everyone for the kind messages. My family, friends, and even their family and friends, are really some of the best people on this planet. Your support is what I think about as a slowly climb up mountainsides, step after step, in the hot sun, with this heavy pack pounding down on my poor heals and their blisters. I think my blisters have blisters now - haha! I know I am making the choice to hike this, but that doesn't mean the walking comes easily. Thanks guys - I love you all!!
It's amazing the things I've seen, that I would never see all at once, nor come out to the middle of nowhere to see. Eagle Rock, random caves, cattle grazing in a field (whom didn't like us in the field with them... We were like, "Shit, we never trained for cow-attacks..!"), vistas showing mountain ranges we've passed over, and ones beyond that, cacti with fushia, yellow, and white flowers, snakes (only one rattler, the rest king or something native), ants... and more ants, all sorts of birds, and people smiling even though they're all in excruciating pain. We all are. It's almost taboo to talk about ones personal pain because we are preaching to the choir. Either way, in the end of the day, I feel so grateful for this opportunity and the people who have my back. Even though I am not personally responding to each blog reply, please keep them coming! They're soooooo awesome to read after a long day.
The other day while in Julian (home of Julian Cider Co... Which I unfortunately did not go to...), I sent home 4lbs of stuff I felt I no longer needed, or no longer wanted to carry. I ditched the brain of my pack, the book I never finished reading, the can opener I don't think I'll ever use, and a few other things that were weighing me down. It feels better, and it is fascinating how my attention has moved from gear weight, to water weight. As a community, we are all trying to figure out how much water we each need for how many miles we're hiking for how long we need to hike until the next water source.
Rachel and I have been waking up early (5:30am) to morning-hike before the desert heat warms the ground too much. Hot heat means blisters and more dehydration. After 20 miles yesterday, Rachel and I called it a night and made an insane dinner combo of Mac-n-cheese and mashed potatoes... Mixed... And Oreos dipped in peanut butter sprinkled in pixie-stick powder... dinner of champions! We then camped right along the trail baracading the pathway with her tent and my tarp. I've been cowboy camping so much... With earplugs in... Which help both my fear of bugs crawling into my ear as well as keeping my mind quiet to the sounds of the desert night. The stars are incredible out here and the slim moon chills the air around 5am each morning. I can't wait until it's full so I can put in a night hike with no head-lamps. Morning hiking is incredible.
No trail name yet, no backpain... Yet. Just smiles and blisters and beautiful desert landscape. Lovin' it.