Crapping in the Woods
Nah just kidding. I wrote the title just to grab your attention. Trust me there's nothing you truly want to know about crapping in the woods. Especially during bug season. Ugh....
This is a quick check in as we've slowed to turtle pace into the Sierras. As I sit 50 miles into the great mountain range, it's a good time to reflect on some of the power and memories this trail provides.
Not too long before we wrapped up the first 700 miles and the long stretch of the desert, one particular day truly exemplified the range of emotions felt on a daily basis on a grueling and long hike.
As we set out early, we could tell the day was gonna be the umpteenth hot day in a row. At 6:30 in the morning it was already warming up quickly. The sand was deep and soft. You know the sandy path that takes you down to the ocean when you leave the parking lot or you walk down to the ocean from a beach home? Imagine doing that for 20 plus miles with a beach never appearing. It's hot, it feels like a beach should be in front of you at some point, but then you remember you're actually trying to get to Canada and Canada is a long way off.
Needless to say, my mood was sour and the sand hike was taking its toll. Two hours in I was dropping F bombs and didn't know how much more I could take of this constant repetition of sand, hot temps, and no shade.
I said to Tim at one point, "What I would give for someone to walk up to me right now and offer me a cold PBR." We hiked for another half hour knowing we were coming up to a road with a water cache. I guess it was better than nothing. As we reached the road we notice an RV with a few hikers hanging out around it. When we came up to join them, there was a trail angel who said, "Hey you guys want a hot dog and cold beer?" When I opened the cooler there were ice cold PBR's waiting. I looked at Tim with my jaw dropped. Tim just stood there shaking his head and said, "You can't make this stuff up." And well I'm not.
We hung for a while and enjoyed the amazing magic. Once we were off, the hike was a steady climb 3500 feet up. In most cases this would be another rough stretch but due to the break and treats my attitude and energy completely flipped. I was on cloud nine. I threw some toons on and barreled up the mountain with authority.
That's the thing. It doesn't happen 100% of time but it comes pretty close. The trail observes and listens. Somehow it always knows when you need a pick me up and does what it can to provide. As I learned on my AT hike, I believe in the trail. I believe it's looking out for me. Has my back. Will protect me when needed. As long as I respect it and treat it the way it expects, well it will repay in kind. This day like other days is an example of what a thru hike is all about....
Keep on hiking the good hike