Total distance: 1416.5
I’ve been going in and out of moments where I feel overwhelming alone and disconnected from any person I’ve known before. These seasons don’t last that long usually and part of me has come to find value in the solitude and strength in the quietness.
When I woke up this morning I unzipped my tarp and was blasted with beauty as the sun was rising and illuminating the sage and flowers around me. The contrasted was so deep as the shadows behind each object further outlined their shape and sharpness.
I spent a few miles with the silence of the air as I walked across the rim of Hat Creek and slowly descended to the valleys with some trees for shade. Eventually I checked for service and saw that I had a lot of so I decided to call my friend Ryan who I hiked the AT with in 2014. We would continue to talk for the next twenty miles of my day.
Our conversation ran from girlfriends to school to the trail to our upbringing and religion and even went into the drama of our thru hike a few years back. Getting to have the space he provides in conversation once again as I hike was an incredible gift. Miles fly by when you are talking to someone who engages you and brings the realness out of your head.
Eventually my phone would die and I walked the last few miles in silence again with a deep joy in having that connection with an old friend and feeling uplifted from being able to get back in that space I once knew so deeply. When I got Burney Falls Stare Park I got my package and went to charge my phone when my other friend, Roni, pulled up to bring me food and beer and kambucha and music and take me into town for dinner. I was overwhelmed with happiness in feeling like I was getting a break from the intensity of the solitude I’ve been resting in for a while now.
After we are at a mediocre Mexican restaurant we went back to the trail and hiked a half mile to find a camp spot and make a fire. We ended up drinking some beer and playing music for a while as the moon rose behind us and the sounds of the falls accompanied our songs. A slight little rain began to fall as we sat there. It was so subtle I didn’t even flinch to cover my things, but smiled as I was finally experiencing the magic of rainfall. I still haven’t been in the rain while hiking though. Knock on wood.
Eventually it came time for bed and I made my way to my pad to fall asleep within minutes with a nice little spin in my head to drop me into sleep. It’s a reassuring thing to have people in your life give time and energy to shower love on you even when you don’t ask for it. Today has been an incredible treat and I am so thankful for the conversations I’ve had and the rest I’ve been given. Tomorrow I’ll be back on the grind, but will carry the joy these two friends have given me as I keep on moving with 1200 miles to go.