Total distance: 1048.4
In the morning I am waking up to coffee and a warm breakfast from a trail angel. I am camped right off of highway 4 along with a guy named Petunia and we just spent the last three hours making a fire and talking about our lives and the trail so far. He is from Houston as well and lives in the Bay Area and is starting in outdoor Ed next year. We laughed so hard and I am so thankful for a night with someone I can connect with and talk to.
There were a few days in the sierras where things were getting rough for me. I was pushing myself too hard and not having anyone to talk with or vent to. I had some really low points mentally and physically so when I began this next section I decided to do things a bit differently.
I have started waking up earlier and walking slower. I don’t look at my maps as often and obsess about what’s ahead. I take longer breaks and eat all of my food for that day instead of trying to save some extra for the next. I listen to music a little more and I don’t set a daily goal. I just wake up and start walking.
Today I felt the benefits of my new mentality and like the Phoenix I feel as if I have come from the struggle of last week to the highs of a new mentality. All day I felt engaged and present and strong and capable and focused. During my first climb and descent I was stressed because there was a two mile snow section and the trail was so hard to follow I kept referring to my gps every five minutes, but after that the day just breezed and I hiked as if it were my first day on trail.
The terrain and scenery is changing as I slowly drop out of the sierras. The lower elevation rock formations look like spires poking out of the earth and a reddish hue covers the ground beneath my feet. It’s hotter down lower and the secades are electrifying the air with a sizzle in the heat of the day.
The trail took my on a roller coaster up a thousand feet and back down repeatedly, but on low grade with compact dirt. I was able to get in gear and march up the hills with consistency and energy.
There were a few gorgeous views once getting over some mountains with random slate rock towers lifting from the ground and scattering stone like water beads on the back of a duck. Snow patches still found their way on the trail the ought the day and slowed me down, but provided ice cold water as a trade off.
I got to the road around 6:30 and found a sign that said there would be breakfast here in the morning so I threw my things down and walked back a few hundred yards were I had service to call Molly and contact my mother. I noticed my new friend there and we agreed we would make our fire later and hang out when I returned.
Today just felt right. Like I fully enjoyed walking 30 miles and had zero pressure to do so. I feel like I wanted to do it and chose to because it felt good to work my body and stand atop mountains with sweat and heavy breathing. My eyes now are heavy and I will dream of sweet caffeine in the morning and warm food to fuel another day walking the roller coaster into Northern California.