Monday, June 9, 2014

Day 57: Mile 651.4 - Mile 659.4

We finally got up and out of the room around 10:30. We were heading to the bus stop when we ran into Uke who was playing his ukelele in the park. He said he was planning to stay until Thursday and tried his hardest to convince us to stay too. It was tempting for sure but we finally broke loose of the vortex and got on the bus to Lake Isabella. We headed out to the highway and stuck out our thumbs but it proved to be a hard hitch. At last, a woman with a kayak stopped for us and drove us all the way to Walker Pass Campground. We thanked her profusely and offered her money but she declined.

We headed back up to the trail magic ruck where we had left off the trail and there we met Yogi! Yogi is a triple crown hiker and kind of a trail celebrity since she wrote the most widely used PCT guide book. We introduced ourselves but that was as far as we got in our conversation. The day was relatively cool and we decided it was best to just start hiking and put as much distance between us and normal life as possible lest we be sucked back in. We climbed gently out of the campground and crossed the highway where the trail really started gaining elevation.

I stopped short, frustrated, and told Josh I needed to drink the liter of Gatorade I'd packed out of town. There was no sense in me toting it up that big hill. We found a shady spot and drank up while asking ourselves why, exactly, we were doing this hike. A day hiker trotted down the trail and we played with the idea of asking him for a ride out of there. We talked about where we would go if we did that and what we would do, which In AA we call "playing the tape through". Carrot Quinn wrote in her blog something I found super poignant and her words rattled around in my head while we were hashing it out: "The trail is about never giving up. It’s about crying alone on logs. It’s about cycling through every possible emotion in a twelve hour period to end up exactly where you started- hungry, sleepy, content for no specific reason. It’s about not quitting when you really want to, if only because you can’t think of where else you’d go or what you would do, when you got there."

We decided to start hiking again.

Climbing climbing climbing we switched back up the mountain. We climbed for about 7 miles but something wonderful happened the higher we climbed...the rocks started changing. All of a sudden huge granite mountains came into view. There were scree fields and boulder falls coated in colorful lyken. It is starting to look like the Sierra!! I was so excited I wasn't paying attention and almost stepped on a baby rattlesnake. I leaped back and the snake didn't even rattle, just went on about it's business.

We pushed another mile or so until we found a tiny flat spot on the side of the mountain. We are literally camped on a peninsula jutting out over the desert floor far below. We decided to stay here rather than push to the spring since the rumor is there is a bear that lives at Joshua Tree Spring and likes to mess with hikers. As far as bears go I now understand why thru hikers sleep with their would have to be a brave bear to try to come between a hiker and his food sack. That would be a fight to the death!

We ate tuna wraps with avocado which was glorious and Josh and I agreed we much prefer packing out some luxuries over starving to death, even if they're heavy. I know we have too much food for this short section but I don't care. I'm not rolling into town hungry like that again. After dinner we took silly pictures, giggled and cuddled in our quilts.

Right now it's 7:30 and the mountain we are sleeping on is casting a shadow over the desert below and a hummingbird is buzzing around our tent. Hummingbirds bring good medicine full of energy, drive and joy. We need that! It is a beautiful night save for the random gusts of wind that come out of nowhere rattle the tent, but even those are ok. I am excited to see what tomorrow holds for us. We plan to try to get in a 20+ mile day. Whatever gets us out of the flippin' desert the fastest. We are ready for a new challenge.

Until tomorrow, goodnight

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