Day 2. Mile 15 to Mile 31. After cowboy camping the very first night in a beautiful spot, I struck out late at 8am in search of water. Lake morena at mile 20 supplied me with water that "probably is worth filtering". The group I've been leapfrogging and a guy from Israel were there, the latter of which overheard someone speaking in a language he knew and in effect scored a few classic Israeli treats for us to share. I am still uncomfortable with the continuing passing of this group. I wish to hike alone, but be polite and open. A difficult balance to strike. This man finds it difficult to explain concisely what his desert soul trek is meant to be without sounding anti social. For now, let them all be content with my stock answer regarding topical questions about my robe: "It is a simple, silly reminder that our path is at once physical and spiritual." My first trail magic lead me down a .8 mile dirt road that could chew the tire of a rushing car like a great Dane and a new toy. Ain inter generational gathering of family was hosting hikers with beer and hot dogs. The other group arrived a few hours after me. Fate, it seems, wishes us together. I felt some hikers were rude by not masking the pretentiousness, but the family was relentlessly kind. Classism is no stranger to life nor trail.
Day 3: 31-45 Forgot my dang poles at campsite, ran back to get them. Forgot my dang poles at the creek where I aided another hiker who had a leak. Word was she was thinking of quiting yesterday, so I didn't feel bad losing my contractor bag in a bid to help her past these tough early days ago adjustment to trail life. I made piece with the awkwardness of the leapfrog group. A member had fallen behing, crying in a pine forest, an enchanting respite from the desert heat. She was taken by the beauty of the forest and memories of pine cones at home. I started to share my memories of my mother collecting pine cones in yosemite, but decided against it. I didn't want to jeopardize her moment of connection with the trail. But I carried one with me to facilitate the dredging of memories assumed forgotten. And gave water to the desert. I find myself skipping events, this is not so much a journal as a shared space for my meditations. But the sun sets over the most beautiful camp site I have ever seen, and I just write in my journal before sleep. The desert slips off into the horizon below this mountain I'm on. Alone at the top, the wind steady but firm, I wish you good night with my newly accepted trail name - "Pilgrim"
At 8am I began, by 5pm I arrived at the lovely solo camp spot at mile 16. Not the pace I wanted but gotta go easy on first few days!
The forecast states there's a 100% chance I get very used to devouring peanut mms.
This site is stunning though, just laying down watching the sun filter through the bushes that the light, consistent breeze is forcing to dance slowly. Creates a hazy, Smokey yellow oldtimey filter over the space between these two mountains.
This still doesn't feel all that big of a deal, so for now, I'm just focusing on having a relaxing first few days. Approx 15-18 miles each day is the expectation before bumping to 20 or so.
The good: trail is beautiful, California sunsets The bad: I'm not fricken leg ripped yet The ugly: passed the same group of three over a dozen times. This one's brutal, folks
6am day of the trail. Can barely eat breakfast. Not too far outside the norm for me, but certainly partially nerve induced. Just like Senegal, it seems to be hitting me only within 24 hours of departure that adventure lies ahead
Our friends from home in California (left), our Bangkok friends, teachers I work with (middle), and us (right) - standing on the National Park beach waiting for our speed boat ride back to the mainland. The two nights and three days on the island were lots of relaxing fun, and a nature feast for the eyes, ears, and lungs (living in Bangkok makes for poor air quality much of the time!) And the best part, time with friends, building relationships.