Day 26

Mileage: 32.8
Total distance: 771
Tonight I’m sleeping by wright creek with an awesome dude named Arno. He gave me a little whiskey and has been fishing for the past twenty minutes and catching a ton of trout. I’m in my bug net only since the mosquitos are out and I’m staring up a couple of pines for the night. 

I crawled out of my tent this morning to stretch and was so cold the instant I reached my hands to the sky. I would be keeping my layers on for a long time. My body felt rested and all seemed in order as I set off to begin a very chill climb up to 11,500 feet. 

I started off feeling great and motivated to do big miles and then I stopped at a little creek to get water when everything changed. I sat for along time and was stressed out to the max. I kept feeling rushed and pressured like I have to keep moving and my body was just wanting the opposite. It’s like if I sit too long this feeling of failing catches me and I keep moving to ignore it or interact with any other possible way this hike might happen other than what I want to happen. 

Finally I got up and shook it off and walked 7 miles to a gorgeous spring fed lake on top of a mountain. There were a couple of other hikers there minding their own business and enjoying the glorious lake. I ate lunch and watched a chipmunk run around and try and sneak my food away from me for about twenty minutes. He got really close a couple of times. If he would have come all the way and grabbed something I would have let him. Brave little guy. Or girl. The wind was strong so I didn’t stay for long and began hiking again.  

The next ten miles were relatively flat and I walked mindlessly for three hours. I realized I had no idea what I’ve been thinking about for the past hour or two and took a moment to refocus myself and look around to be as present as I could. This just wasn’t my day. I didn’t want to be hiking. I didn’t want to be alone. I didn’t want to do thirty miles, but when I got to rock creek everything changed. 
The trail took me over the creek and I had to take my shoes off and get my feet wet so I knew I’d be sitting for a little while until they dried off. I ended up finding a rock and cleaning my socks and staring up at a massive mountain beyond the creek and laid in the sunshine for an hour. Birds were flying around and the rushing water was so musical and rhythmic. All of my stress about the hike went right out the window. This is why I wanted to come out here. To lay on warm rocks and bask in the sun and daydream while looking at gorgeous structures rising out of the earth. I was surrounded by beauty and never wanted to leave. I ate more food and took a nap and didn’t care what happened that day or any other day to come. I felt like I was home. 

Around 3 pm I gathered my things and decided I was just going to walk as far as I wanted and as slow as I wanted until I decided to stop. This led to an incredible few hours. The trail went up and down small ridges and every time I summited I saw massive formations in front of me and meadows on either side. I felt like I was being swallowed by these gigantic peaks all around me. The trail rests in a respectable elevation while all around there are peaks touching the clouds with snow blanketing their sides.

I met a lot of hikers and walked in joy for about four hours until I got to my camp spot. The scenery is pretty much the same while on the trail. Red pines and white rock everywhere and all around you there are those massive mountains. You enter meadows every couple of miles and cross water just the same. I can’t believe how huge everything is out here. It’s so surreal and almost too much to comprehend. I find myself getting lost in thoughts and then having to pull myself out to look around and be aware of all that I’m seeing and experiencing. Thankfully there is so much beauty to behold and there is so much more to come. 

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