A Season of Thirties 

Day 10 Mileage: 31.8

Total distance: 283.9
Camp tonight is 1.5 miles up a ridge from little bear spring and it has been a long day. I am cowboy camping and watching the stars slowly get brighter and brighter like a candle when the wax starts to melt. 

I woke up this morning to sounds in the kitchen and Papa Smurf cooking breakfast for all fifteen hikers. He had eggs and toast and potatoes and coffee and all the good stuff you would never expect to wake up to when hiking for so long. Everyone helped out and showed thanks for the wonderful breakfast and we all began to feast. 

Around 9 the shuttles began and we said goodbye to hikers we may or may not see again like Kitchen Sink, who has been carrying almost a hundred pounds in his pack. Hiking is always a surprise and you never know who will pick up pace or slow down. I could be hiking alone next week for all I know. I hope not. I’m really enjoying the company and being pushed to do big miles and having conversations and laughs along the way. 

  • Papa Smurf in the red. Mountain momma on the left. 

We began trail at 9:30 and the hiking was beautiful. Smooth terrain with tons of pines and a subtle wind consistently brushing past to cool off any effort. This was my first day hiking with John Z. so we set a high pace and moved smoothly throughout the big bear range. 

The trail goes through the trees for a long time and finally opens up with tons of exposure and views of various ranges surrounding us. The sun seemed dim so the colors on the ridges wereamazing and at one point there was a view all the way to the desert floor that made me so thankful for being at 7,000 feet instead. 

We hiked for a long time and eventually got to a water pump with some picnic tables and had lunch. Roadhouse was thinking about having a shorter day so when we left it possibly could have been goodbye. John Z and I took off and completed another 16 miles to make it to our spot tonight. We spent some time discussing the next day and that I would be using his pack tomorrow on a 30+ mile day. Looking out over the canyon and watching the sunset, John says, “not so bad, huh? This is home”. It was a nice moment for me to stop and realize that this isn’t just a weekend back pack trip, but is the next 80 days of my life. Waking up to walk and spending all day figuring out new things or fixing problems or seeing incredible things like three juncos today who were fighting so aggressively I almost thought one was going to die. Not super uplifting, but cool. Thru-hiking is an insane shift from one lifestyle to the next and everyday I find myself becoming more and more comfortable existing in the way I do out here. It is home. As we were getting things together to fall asleep roadhouse came walking down the mountain and joined our slumber party. Yes. Yes.  

The sunset tonight was spectacular with views of far away ranges being silhouetted by the falling sun and contrasted with deep oranges that whipped up into bright pink rays where clouds were expanding. My legs are exhausted and my rash is back to cause more hot pain and torment, but thankfully I have cortisone and didn’t bush whack to get more cut up. Today was my first 30+ day and I felt great. Hopefully there will be many more to come since I’ve got my sweet vitamin b juice I can add to water that makes me feel like a machine with endless energy. Laying under stars feels so surreal. Like its a dream you are hoping never ends, but they just sit and twinkle until your eyes slowly close and you drift into peace. 

  • My lovely rashes just can’t resist me. 

Thought of the day:

Can I pee and walk at the same time? 

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