I’d just hit my lowest point on trail. Self-doubt had taken over. Headed into town, I wasn’t sure if I’d be back on trail again. Time for a reset.
First up: a double zero. Top Gun: Maverick was showing at the local theater? Let’s hit it. Karaoke night at the saloon? Absolutely. A bouldering wall at the sporting goods store? Climb on!
Plans were made with a new group of hikers for the upcoming section. Our main goal: enjoy it. “One pass a day keeps the blues away,” was repeated over and over.
Finally, the time to go back to trail arrived. I was rejuvenated and optimistic for the first time in what felt like ages.
We made it back over kearsarge pass and, in accordance with our new plans, a shooter of whiskey was consumed up top while dancing to Funky Town. We proceeded a few more miles to one of my favorite camping spots to date: a rock outcropping above Bullfrog Lake. We passed by it on our way off trail a few days prior and agreed then and there that we had to stay there on our way back to the PCT.
Every day, we woke up with excitement for our leisurely 15ish mile days that allowed for ample breaks filled with naps and fishing. On top of every pass, we continued our tradition of whiskey and Funky Town. I still felt the effects of altitude sickness, but at this pace, it felt manageable. I didn’t have to push myself too hard on the uphills, and despite my majorly lowered pace, I still made it to break spots and camp at a reasonable time.
I felt good. I felt like I could keep going. I felt like a hiker.
The Sierra presented a lot of new challenges with the altitude and extended food carries, but with the right attitude, I prospered. Making it through the High Sierra means I conquered my toughest challenge in my hiking career so far. And I did it with joy (once I figured out how!) Now, every time I hear the song Funkytown, I’ll remember the incredible time I spent with my tramily in one of the most beautiful places in the country.
NorCal, you’re next!
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