Six Takeaways from the First Six Days on Trail

Is it hotter than I imagined? Yes. Am I getting sunburned by 10 a.m? You betcha. Are there minimal places to dig a cathole? Yup. Am I incredibly grateful to be out here? You bet I am. Here’s a rundown of the six takeaways from the first six days on trail hiking from Campo to Julian.

The Desert Is Humbling

It is so hot out here. By 9 a.m. the sun is beating down and you’re either sweating or getting sunburned or both. My thighs have been getting burnt so I’m trying to be more diligent about putting sunscreen on. But when I do put sunscreen on, my heat rash flares up. I haven’t quite figured out how to get my umbrella to stay on my pack, but once I do, that’ll be the golden ticket. I think I’ve come to the consensus that sun clothing is way better than sunscreen. And I’m really wishing I brought a pair of pants for this section instead of shorts.

Chocolate for Breakfast

If you pack out anything chocolate, you have to eat it for breakfast because by midday it will just be a soupy mess. Which actually works for me because my appetite has changed a bit and I haven’t been craving sweet stuff during the day. Probably because it’s so hot.


Super Blooms Can Happen in the Desert

It has been the most beautiful surprise to see all of the blooming flowers in the desert. The cacti are absolutely gorgeous. There’s this lovely sage and peach color plant that I’ve fallen in love with. This wet season has not only given life to the flowers but also the water sources. A huge win-win for us hikers.

Stretch. Roll. Elevate.

Every morning and night I have made a point to take care of my body. Something I didn’t necessarily do on the Appalachian Trail. I brought two rawology balls with me and have been using them for my feet, shins, hips, butt, quads, and shoulders. I also work through some leg and shoulder stretches that hit the sore areas. And to top it off, I put my feet on my pack for a bit once I get into my tent and give the lactic acid a chance to drain. I 100% think this combo has helped keep my shin splints at ease and my body in the happiest shape it could be at this time.

Humans Are Great

Just about every day that I have been out here, I’ve received some type of trail magic or support from other humans, be it locals, friends, or other hikers. It makes thru-hiking that much more enjoyable when you have people around you who are trying to spread happiness and joy. It’s what I love most about trail life; the people you meet along the way.

Go at Your Own Pace

The first day my shins were barking at me and I was reminded immediately that I have to walk at my own pace. It’s challenging because I want to stay with my friends and be apart of the conversations. But obviously if I injure myself and get off trail, I won’t be hanging out with them anyway. So I’m trying my best to slow down and listen to my body.

Trail is not always butterflies and rainbows. It can be really challenging and brutal, leading you to question why you’re out here. Maybe question your sanity. But for every hard time, there are ten beautiful moments. And honestly, the hard stuff is usually what makes for the best stories! I’ve learned it’s important to have people around you that keep your spirits high, so through hell or high water, you’ll be giggling the whole time.

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