Mileage completed: 179 miles
Miles per day: 17.9 miles
The journey began on April 17th, 2014. Finna, my hiking comrade, and I found ourselves in the shadow of the southern monument, buzzing with anticipation and excitement. I wanted to cry- or whoop for joy, but I couldn’t decide, so I just stood and smiled. My hand touched the cracked wood of the monument with the inscription “Pacific Crest Trail, Mexico to Canada” and it was finally real. After years of wanderlust and planning, I am where I should be. Its been said that passionate people give all of themselves to their dreams, so i started my 6 million step journey by jumping two feet in. I was all in, literally and metaphorically. So I began to walk and soon realized that the green tunnels of the east were gone and a new challenge lay ahead. The trail is serpentine and it winds it’s way along the outside of most peaks like a constrictor suffocating it’s next victim. It is gently graded and is certainly lacking in any real uphill climbs found every few miles on the AT. But, it has not been easy. The desert sun and heat are a formidable duo and I’m pretty sure they killed Shade, because it is not to be found for long tracts of trail. Water must be in the witness protection program because you can only find it in shady places or from a hose behind a general store.
We’ve been out here for 10 days so far and I have already felt a big change come over me. I am in mind and body and perhaps even spirit, becoming a desert person. I wake early to a cold wind and eat a dry breakfast. Hopefully I can manage 10 or more miles before the heat really comes in around 1pm. Then the ‘desert haze’ strikes and one must find shade fast. The DS has been known to cause profuse sweating, dry mouth, suicidal thoughts, and chaffing where chaffing is severely frowned upon. Then around 4, like a newly transformed butterfly emerging from it’s chrysalis, you hike on. No, that’s not right. You open your crusty eyes and murmur some nonsense words, brush the dust off as best you can, pluck the cactus out of your butt, then you hike on.
Needless to say, I am happy. I am free and each step I take is both, nothing and everything. Like a grain of sand on a beach, unimportant in the big picture but still needing each grain to become whole.
The Trail Life is a good one.