This past week seems to have flown by. We did hit our one month on trail and celebrated by hiking our first 20 mile day. Before that we had been doing 15-19 miles a day. It was well worth it as we got a pretty awesome tent spot. Being out on trail for a month we have become a little loopy some days. Occasionally we have deep conversations out here but many times we just have a lot of laughing as we get in touch with our young selves again.
My favorite part of the day is usually at night, when we set up our home for the night. I’ve been really diligent in taking time to stretch and meditate once everything is set up. It feels amazing to give myself time to decompress and remember why I’m out here. The peaceful simplicity after each day is well worth whatever aches and pains I go through. Though I’m learning a balance between motivating myself to go further but remembering to rest and enjoy throughout the day. Oftentimes it does depend on the weather and landscape though, there is no use in taking a break in the hot sun so I find myself gritting my teeth and pushing through some of these desert days.
The other day we hiked about 12 miles, getting to the one shade and water spot at around 10 am. The shade was around an outhouse so as more hikers arrived we all squished against the outhouse wall, soaking in those port-a-potty smells. It’s interesting the kinds of things you do out here, becoming more survival-based than creatures of comfort. I think nothing of washing our pot out with sand and rocks or cleaning my hands by rubbing them with dirt. Though in ‘real life’ I would never even eat off a fork that touched a restaurant table.
Another thing that has become more of a logistical problem in the desert is going to the bathroom. Some days we are hiking on the desert ridges for the whole day so when the need hits to go to the bathroom panic can set in. Hikers start to look like dogs, running up and down the trail looking for a spot to go. Sometimes you have to hike up really steep sand to finally find a little place off trail and your already tired legs are getting quite a work out to hold you up on that steep angle.
As we rolled into ‘Hiker Heaven’ yesterday it seemed that there has been a consensus among hikers that this past week was a little rough. The hiking wasn’t too hard but injuries are starting to flare up, the heat is making it hard to take recommended breaks, and the lack of water is a strain on what you can eat and heavy when you have to carry a lot. So the boost that we received from the package we received and the lucky strike of getting a room at Hiker Heaven with a real bed was a real boost. We can see the light at the end of the desert, only a couple more weeks until the Sierra!