A Desert Full of Life

I’ve learned a very simple parkour in my first eight days on trail. The first five miles out of Campo, I was feeling on top of the world. Canada was only a handful of miles away. Then mile six hit and with it the sound of frying bacon.

Tragically that does not mean someone was about to surprise me with a plate of delicious breakfast meat. It did mean somewhere nearby there was a small creature capable of killing me with a single bite: the Western Rattlesnake.

When I heard the noise I immediately stopped and backed up, since it was coming from in front of me. I peered where I thought the noise was coming from, and saw a brown stick. I looked closer, and that brown stick turned out to have a face. It wasn’t a stick, it was the bacon!

I creeped around it, letting it know with soothing words that we were friends. Luckily, the big guy let me past and I continued on.

The next mile I started having doubts. How could I make it to Canada? There were going to be these things the whole way! But I continued on and made it to night one at Hauser Creek.

The Kindness of Strangers

Luckily, I then went five days without seeing another rattler. Other forms of wildlife were not so shy.

I’ve seen a wide variety of plants and lizards, heard the songs of so many birds, and was bitten in the stomach by an ant. But most importantly I’ve been surrounded by a community of people full of love and grit.

It’s hard to go a day out here without seeing somebody. Right now, even, I’m camped on the porch of a store with eight strangers. I don’t know all of their stories, but I know their hearts resonated with mine when they tugged us to the Southern Terminus.

But it’s not just the hikers with full hearts. A couple at mile 102 set up shop and were handing out food and drinks. Did I accept the Bud Light at 8 in the morning? You betcha!

Not shortly before that I got a hitch into Julian from a couple from LA who camp down here and then just give hikers rides for fun. And did I mention that hitch (my first ever hitch) was to go get FREE pie?

And now, I’m sleeping on some business’ porch just for being a dirty hiker. My heart is so full and the trail has only begun.

The Details

How has the hike been going? Amazing. I went into this with an open mind, ready to just accept what comes my way. I’m at mile 152, and it’s been eight days. I’d hoped to be averaging 20 miles a day, so I’m pretty close to that.

I’ve crossed well over 100 miles of desert, and it has been incredibly beautiful and difficult and amazing. It was a wet year, so life is springing up in an array of colors.

I hear we drop down into real, flat desert in a couple miles, but that’s going to come after a zero day in Idyllwild.

Have I found myself yet? Maybe not. But it feels like maybe I’m becoming something different than I was before. Something more willing to follow the tugs on his heart.

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Comments 1

  • Kim Baertlein : May 18th

    Oh Mitch this is great! So enjoying your reading and following your adventure! Love ya and Happy Birthday Today!!


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