I wrote this on the trail:
Dirty feet and hairy armpits. We stink. Go to bed shivering to wake up sweating buckets in a windstorm, a sandstorm. The desert is relentless. 30 degree difference between the sun and the shade. There is no winning. There is only walking. We are spoiled. Angels who deliver gallons of water to dry sections. Angels who give places to sleep and food to eat at a price of donation. Angels are everywhere. And where the angels can’t reach, there is still love. Love in the streams, in the shade of the trees, in the clouds. There is love in our tent, love on our breaks, and love that waits for me to catch up when I’m having a hard day. Love as strong as the desert sun, stronger if we embrace it. Thru-hiking is more like a job than a vacation. But the fruits of our labor should be more gratifying than a swollen wallet, though I haven’t fully grasped that yet. It’s too early to see fully past the pain, past the weight of my pack through the day, past the daunting total of miles that still await. But I am trying. I tried to give up 4 times today but that voice is getting quieter. 110 down and only 2540 miles to go.
I am writing to you from the Warner Springs Community Center where these gracious angels share computers, detergent, a mini-shop, and bucket showers with hikers. It will be our second night here, unexpectedly. We thought today to make drastic changes to our itinerary but an awakening peek at the snow report convinced us otherwise so tomorrow, we hike on. I cried about it for a little while, then spent an hour from a “Home of the Wildcats” spectator box overlooking a shabby circular-mowed football field, staring up at two hawks chasing each other through the endless blue skies and I got over it. Tomorrow we will hike on. And again the next tomorrow and the next.
The last 110 miles have been a shock to the system, financially, emotionally, and definitely physically. The only thing harder than hiking I have found, is turning down a beer at the end of the day. Giving up drinking for the hike, being a personal goal of mine, has been more challenging than anticipated. But just as hiking has been getting marginally easier by the day, so I expect saying “No” will be.
The Community Center closes in fifteen minutes so I will end my post here. Hope to write to you soon on a more upbeat note from the next available computer. <3
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