Day 33Mileage: 8.7
Total distance: 951.2
I woke up at two in the morning with the sound of my tarp ripping back and forth. There was a huge wind that was rattling my tent and was throwing it around like a rag doll. I tried to sleep through it and eventually did, but the constant slamming of my tarp was so loud and distracting. The wind would end up doing a lot of damage that night.
I woke up at six and felt somewhat rested and had no pressure to get anywhere soon due to the fact that I was going with the flow today and not pushing myself in any way. I need a day off to relax and unwind from the stress I have been putting on myself.
I crawled out of my tent and looked over the lake and a massive forest fire had began 300 yards from where I stood. It was creeping up a hill side and transformers were exploding colors of blue and purple every so often. The wind was causing the fire to grow only stronger and there was no sign of stopping it soon.
I would spend the next several hours outside of the Mobile gas station watching the fire and working on my blog while talking to locals about evacuations and road closures. I thought I would be staying in Lee if all the roads had shut down around the fire and was completely fine with that.
Around two pm the entire view of mono lake had been covered in a thick fog from the forest fire and the sky looked orange and holographic. Eventually helicopters came and were working non stop to cut off the fire from growing further. Water was the only option to end the burn and they sprayed massive amounts of it around the base of the fire to stop its growth.
I found out the road was opened and hitched up to Tuolumne in a car with two Belgium men who worked for the government and were on a vacation road tripping across America. Very intelligent dudes and super fun to talk to about Belgium culture. Especially beer. They loved beer.
I got to Tuolumne and found my box and spent a solid hour rearranging my bag and adding things and taking away things to make the most fit in my tiny pack. I should have gotten a bigger pack, but I’m learning.
I got my final things together and said bye to some new hiker faces and began a slow walk back to the trail. I had no idea how many miles I wanted to do or where I wanted to get to, I only wanted to walk in the woods and fall in love with hiking again. And I did.
The trail took me along a river that was smooth and blue until the trail began to drop in elevation and the river turned into waterfalls and Rapids as it descended down the bluffs. Watching water explode through rocks and pour itself over boulders is like watching a fire. You don’t know what you’re looking at or what you are thinking about, but you can’t look away and you feel deeper and stronger inside than you did before. I am obsessed with rivers and seeing the mist from its collision with rocks spray into the air and finding its way to cool my warm skin as it dances like snow flakes in the wind. Water is everything and is such a beautiful thing to observe and experience.
I kept on hiking next to the river and felt a rumble in my stomach followed by horrible gas and a dull pain growing in my gut. I realized I had only drank a liter of water today and about six cups of coffee while I sat at the gas station. I pulled off the trail to have a horrible few minutes of pooping and chugged water until my stomach slowly relaxed to normal. I keep sipping water and peed about six times on my 6 mile walk. We need water to survive and our bodies quickly shut down when it doesn’t have enough and that is a lesson I have to learn from! For some reason I’ve had the hardest time hydrating myself on this trail and today was another reminder to drink.
I am at a makeshift campsite and have built a fire in a rock ring and spent a long time eating and stretching and clipping toe and fingernails and reading my John Muir book. The theme of my day revolved around water and the importance of it in our lives. Whether that be survival, beauty or for emergencies, water has so much power and we rely on it so much and if there is a lesson I have learned from this trail so far it is to grow in my appreciation and level of value for water and for clean water and for being able to access it almost anytime I want to (in the real world). There is something so mesmerizing about the movement of water and all of its abilities and today I was shown its importance in all of life. I am excited to swim soon and to feel completely wrapped inside the magic of water.