Day 7, 21.5 miles
Before this long thru hike, called the Pacific Crest Trail, I did everything possible to prepare myself. I cut back on work to get healthy, went to the gym, yoga with Dad and wonderful yogi friends, snowshoed, and hiked many miles with a pack. I read PCT blogs, gear reviews, and tried many different hiking shoes. I learned as much technical things as this lazy old brain could handle, like how to blog, how to use gps apps, how to download and save info such as water reports. I was confident that I was as ready as I possibly could be. But how does one prepare themselves mentally to say goodbye to the person who makes them happy every day?
Paul exited the trail at Warner Springs this morning, to catch a flight back to Vancouver. I will miss his company beyond words. This is going to be my biggest challenge. As I hiked today, I was elated with the memories of the great week Paul and I had here in the desert and SO Cal mountains. Then sad that we cannot share this whole journey together.
I started out late this morning, after 10am. The trail spilled back into the giant Oak forest. Cool and shady, a pretty stream crisscrosses the trail. Soon I started heading back up into the mountains. Low lying bushes, cacti, hot with little shade. I reached the water supply, a fire tank, around 5pm.
I checked my Guthooks app to find there was an exposed tent site 1 mile ahead and another in 4.5 miles. I looked at my phone, 6.05 pm. I decided to head further up into the mountain. The wind was picking up fast. I reached the first site, two tents, hikers hunkered down for the night. I hiked on. Miles of exposed, windy, ridge. Light was fading. Finally I could see the trail was winding downward. I reached the gully as the sun was setting. I was relieved to see two tents; the occupants just settling in. The young women kindly offered a wee space beside them.
I listened to the wind flap my tent. I could hear the wind blowing way up on the mountainside. I hope those other hikers on the ridge will be ok. The girls giggled and whispered into the night. Good night.
Oh, and today I saw a hummingbird, a large lizard, baby bunnies, poison oak, and a sweet, friendly dog kept me company on the trail. I love dogs. I call her Bunny Breath. I’ll let you figure that one out.