David has been awesome in helping me keep from getting too far behind in the trail journal!! Thank you Thank you to David for that and for so much else!!!
You will find my additions below in bold to help you differentiate the new text. My additions are a bit long but this was a day full of feelings and emotions, as well as miles. The trail brings many emotions out and I am trying to share honestly .
I will try harder to keep up to date but many areas have no cell access — and quit honestly some evenings it is all I can do to make camp eat and fall asleep!!
The morning of the 15th I started out slowly, the trail winds around the lake and past many beautiful flowers. There is also cell access the entire way and I even called my brother!
Honestly though, at that time I was questioning my place on the trail. The previous day I began encountering groups of other thru hikers. My “late” start date resulted in having few to no fellow hikers with whom to share the trail at first. However, my pace seems to be a bit faster than most hikers and so as the days go by I encounter more fellow hikers. It was great to see other people and all were friendly and enthusiastic.
They were also all young and vibrant. There were not as many woman as men and the woman all seemed to have thick, shiny hair and youthful glowing skin. Many had exotic foreign names and accents.
On the trail all the scales of artifice fall away, those small things we all do, to some extent to help us portray the image we want society to see. Grooming, blow drying hair, cleanser and lotions, clothing… we all have our daily routines, some unconscious, that we perform to help us show the world who we are. These routines fall quickly away when:
Some unconscious, that we perform to help us show the world who we are. These routines fall quickly away when:
- You must carry everything you use on your back;
- Water is scarce and so precious that you can only dampen the edge of your bandana to “wash”;
- Your day begins with the alarm at 4 am and you walk through high wind ( messy hair) through heat (sweat drying into salt on your face), fine dust permeates your clothes and sticks to your skin;
- You go through minor stages of dehydration and exhaustion.
This list is not a formula for beauty, and yet there were these exotic beauties looking like supermodels out on the trail.
The trail provides long periods of time for introspection. My mind fell into a selfish depression as I walked that morning. What was a 63 year old woman doing out here hiking by herself? Who do I think I am? This is a young person’s game.
Sunrise over Silverwood Lake, CA.
BUT THEN: Along came Pink and Purple
Two strong, delightful nurses on summer holiday from Finland. They had a strong pace and their presence jarred me from my pointless line of thought and into action. Pink and Purple announced they were on a mission: The Mc Donalds at Cajon Junction! I followed behind them at a brisk pace, brief well-spaced breaks allowed us short but pleasant conversation.
Early morning meeting with other PCT hikers “Pink” and “Purple” from Finland. They were very strong fit, hikers enjoying their brake from school.
10 AM and the girls are setting a good pace before the heat of the day comes.
Walking on with the long trail ahead and a cooling fog and breeze make it a little more pleasant.
Lucky for the cooling fog.
David was waiting for me at Cajon Junction with the trailer and cold Gatorade and a Subway Veggie sandwich, YUM!!!! He was happy to meet Pink and Purple – although they would be leaving the trail in a day or so to continue home to Finland.
The day was still early and so after a wonderfully refreshing break I left at 2 pm for a 100+ miles stretch. This was my longest leg so far in the journey and also one with very scarce water. There was one stretch with almost 30 waterless miles. My pack felt horribly heavy. David weighed it at 27+ pounds. We reviewed all the contents and took out the bag of peanuts bringing to down to almost 26.
As I began walking uphill, into the dry mountains, with the heavy pack — and without Pink and Purple, I was walking slowly, starting to sink back into the “can I do this?” mode. I know deeply in my heart that I am not on this journey alone. With me are all my friends and my family and my church. All of you reading this journey log are with me. Your love, caring, well wishes and prayers sustain me and strengthen me; but I must acknowledge and call on this strength to avail myself of it.
I had a “snap out of it” moment and to the beat of Onward Christian Soldiers picked up my pace. My goal for the night was MP 352. The only problem with this seemingly attainable goal is that, as I approached 352, it was getting near sunset, and everything, as far as I could see, was absolutely vertical! I mean that there was nowhere anyone but a snake or lizard could lie down. Consulting the Halfmile PCT app, the nearest campsites listed were about 5 miles away. Mile 352 made a 32 mile day and I was too tired to travel in the dark with these steep drop-offs.
Interestingly I had great cell coverage throughout this entire stretch and I called our friend who is doing the flyover videos (If you haven’t checked these out go to the YOUTube and videos page in the menu in upper righthand corner of our homepage. These are 3D videos of each day of travel and give a great idea of the terrain covered!!). I think I woke him but he fired up his computer and zoomed in on Google Earth Pro in 3D. There was a bluff after the paved road (.69 miles away) where there appeared to be two small spots that looked capable of accommodating a small tent. Whew – technology – incredible. I found the first of these spots and slept the night.