Total distance: 1687.8
I am camped next to a creek with only one mile to go before I hit the Oregon border. I stopped short mostly because my shin started hurting, but justified it by wanting to spend one last night in the Golden State.
I woke up feeling rested this morning and even got to shower quickly before leaving. My bag was locked inside the hiker room so I had to crawl through a window and unlock the door to let myself in and get my things. After putting everything back in its place and gathering all my gear up I started down the road I walked yesterday in hopes I would be continuing on and not turning back.
My shin had a slight discomfort with each step, but it wasn’t enough to make me want to take another zero, yet. There were thick clouds hovering over the mountains before me and fog was drooling over the peaks and dripping down into the valleys.
The climb was mellow and I walked slowly not to irritate my shin and eventually made my way into the grey clouds. It was cold and windy and there was enough moisture in the air to cover my face in mist. Perfect for hiking in my opinion. I absolutely love hiking in overcast and thick clouds because there is always a beautiful view when you break through the canopy and today was no exception. I eventually came out on top of the clouds and could see for miles across the pillowy surface of the condensing clouds. My favorite thing ever.
I slowed my pace even more and was able to make a few phone calls as I walked further and further up and away from the clouds. The trail led to a ridge walk and bounced around either side before descending to a dirt road only to lift back up to the peak of the line. My shin started hurting more and I knew I should have taken another full day off and possibly two, but ibprofen is a beautiful substance and did wonders for my pain and psyche.
As I walked in pain I thought about different ways I could heal or take breaks to help the process and it ended up stressing me out, but for some odd reason around mile 27 the pain went away. Not completely, but enough that I wasn’t focused on each step and enjoyed moving without wincing.
The clouds came back at the end of the day as I walked through open fields of ferns with random cows grazing and sounding their bells as the galloped away from me. There were all sorts of colors in the sky and during the best hour of the day, the trees were splashed in gold, standing before the pink and purple sky. Such beauty can make you feel so small and unworthy, but also can instill so much joy and confidence in yourself and all that you are.
I ended up hiking further than I originally planned, but found a nice little spot next to some running water in a forest of firs atop a soft padded surface of duff. California has been such a glorious experience in all that I’ve seen and done, but I’m ready for a new chapter and hope my body heals in time to enjoy it to the fullest.