Day 2Mileage: 25.2

Total distance: 42.6

Camp is in a magical pine forest on top of Laguna Mountain with heavy winds and a wonderfully colorful sky. I got into camp around 6:30 and immediately made a fire in the pits scattered throughout the campground and was filled with excitement to feel like a thru-hiker again with my nightly ritual of having a fire. About 4 miles back I met a dude named Roadhouse and flip flopped with him until we both realized we were headed to the same place and started talking. Come to find out this dude lives in Austin, grew up in Bowling Green, KY, where my dearest friends live and an hour from where I went to college, works in outdoor Ed, and hiked the AT in 2012. My mind repeatedly was blown and joy spread throughout my body. The sad thing is, however, he has less of a time crunch and within the next few days we will most likely part ways, but we have the next day figured out and plan to hike most of it together. Having a companion literally changes everything. I love it. 

I woke up at 5:30 this morning off my pad and freezing on the soil beneath me. I didn’t want to get up smade up a million excuses to sleep in, but my body was ready to go. Finally, around 7, I got up and packed things to start the day. The sky was overcast and there was a chill in the air, but off in the distance I could see the clouds breaking apart and hoped the sun would shine through. 

As soon as I started hiking I felt amazing and filled with energy, which is surprising because I don’t think I slept that great. I hauled ass 3 miles to a campground and plugged my almost dead phone in and began to clean some wounds and tend to some gear issues. I ended up spending two hours at this camp ground just stretching and lounging and watching great blue herons soar and land in some oaks with their lengthy bodies and clumsy demeanor. I chugged water and brushed my teeth and pooped in a bathroom and felt entirely rested before ascending Laguna Mountain. 

  • (Yucca plant?) Weird pumpkin-watermelon fruit. 

I left the campground around 10 am and started walking through the Cleveland National Forest and was blown away with the color of the sage brush contrasted with the clouded mountains in the distance. Walking was flat and smooth and I passed a snake along the way. A snake that yet again scared the piss out of me. 

My body felt amazing all day climbing up the 15 mile mountain approach, until 3:30. I stopped to breathe for a minute and my energy tanked immediately. My thoughts got low and I felt the loneliness creep in and those negative thoughts I’m trying to fight off to stay motivated and engaged. I spent some time reflecting on a conversation I had with a friend recently about how we are made to work hard at things and how good it feels to go to sleep exhausted and feeling accomplished. I wonder if violence and wars exist because humans aren’t working hard enough in their day to day lives and that energy goes misplaced and aggression becomes its identity. Like there is a need within mankind to work and push themselves and complacency allows for this desire to be manipulated into a million things that often become aggressive or egotistic. Something to think about at least. This got me excited to push myself and spend these three months exerting my energy so I feel fulfilled and validated in myself. 

My energy came back and I hiked the next 10 miles faster than I had all day. I was blasting up Laguna Mountain and scaring the shit out of lizards left and right. It was as if every step I took rattled the earth as the reptiles scurried along the fallen leaves. Off to both my sides were drops off the ridge and the mountains swarmed the valley like an army of orcs raiding a village. I was filled with wonder and my mind was sharp and focused on all that was around me. It feels so good to be out here and on my own schedule with no one to tell me what to do or when to do it, but to exist for myself and to survive alone in the wilderness. If only that emotion could stay permanently. I know the negative thoughts will return and that I’ll have extremely difficult times out here, but it’s necessary to count your blessing and take a moment to rest in the awareness of the beauty you exist within. 

Thought of the day:

Should I grab this snake right now?

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