Total distance: 1187
For the past hour and a half petunia and I have been sitting around a fire on top of the last climb before descending into Sierra City. Watching the sun set behind a ridge line before us and the colors slip into different shades of orange and purple has been an incredible way to spend my last night with an incredible hiking partner. There is a haze beneath the peaks in the vast wilderness ahead of us and as the sun drops lower they slowly disappear in the shadows of the towering mountains around them. The mosquitos have made an appearance for old time sake and are giving us another night of irritation at their pestering presence. Why do they exist?
I woke up this morning with a slight hangover from drinking a few too many Mikes hard lemonades at the ski ranch last night and struggled to get out of my bag and start the day. Petunia groaned from his tent, but eventually we both stood up and stretched to wake our weary bodies.
We started off slow as our soreness got the best of us. My hips were aching with every step, but eventually the pain went away. We went to a rest stop four miles in to refil water and sit a while before motivating ourselves for the next thirty miles to come. Today would be filled with ups and downs at an easy grade, but by the end we would both be exhausted.
- No mention of the cannibalism!
Most of the day we walked in silence with an occasional word game or a conversation about rational egotism or hiking strategies for the rest of the pct. We both were in a zone on the up hills and rejoiced going down. The day was filled with incredible views of surrounding mountains with snow caps and beautiful rock structures. A haze appeared off in the distance from a forest fire and would eventually lower our visibility to three miles. The orange light coming through the clouds from a fire is an incredible sight, but eerie and not inviting.
Around mile thirty we both began slowing down and stopped for a final water break along with four other hikers. Petunia made some friends today who he hopes to spend some time hiking with once I leave him in Sierra city. It’s a cool group of three that seems to be pushing 25 on a daily basis and has a nice sense of humor in their adventure. He’ll fit right in.
It’s sad to have to be leaving such a great hiking partner, but we have much different schedules and abilities with time and money that force me to have to push on. I’m glad that I got to spend a few days with someone who was easy to connect with and talk to that gave me a window into social hiking on the trail and someone who will be around when I get done. We both will be living in the Bay Area and working in Outdoor Education so this won’t be the end of our connection.
- Endless fields of lupin and lambs ear.
My shoes are turning into trash, but luckily a man is giving me a pair tomorrow in town because he is getting an even newer pair in the mail. That came at a great time since t will be another hundred miles until I can get mine in the mail.
Our fire is dwindling in our hilltop and petunia is rolled over in his bag farting himself to sleep. Soon I will do the same, but first I’m going to watch the fire turn to ash and breath in a new mentality to prepare myself for the next few weeks alone again hiking in the trail. I don’t fear that head space and I don’t prefer something else as well, but it is different and adjusting may be difficult for the first few days. I just need to get my head in gear and remind myself of the connection I share with all that surrounds me.