Day 38, 31.5 miles
30 miles pct plus 1.5 miles finding water at Joshua Tree Spring and Chimney Creek camp.
I am on the Pacific Crest Trail. I have hiked over 600 miles. Today I hiked 31.5 miles, up and over two mountains, total of over 4000 feet elevation gain. Yesterday I hiked 28 miles. If you had told me this three years ago I would have never in a million years believed you.
A few weeks after I turned 50 I got shingles. Several months after that, the stiffness, pain, aching, and fatigue that I had been experiencing for years progressed. It had come on gradually and I had been passing it off as age or arthritis. It got to the point I was bed ridden for weeks with terrible pain behind my shoulder blades where I had the shingles rash. I missed months of work. My job was very physical. Why can other people my age do it and I can’t? I felt ashamed and depressed. It was a low time for me.
My doctor prescribed a drug for me to take twice a day. It took a year and a half, but my flexibility and mobility returned. I still feel the pain occasionally. My hiking friend, Michelle looked up the drug I take. She said it was for fibermyalga. If I stop taking it I turn into the Tinman. So this journey I’m taking on is special for me in many ways.
The day felt quick and easy. I love the climbs up the mountains. The second climb was hot and steep. At the top was a dramatic change. There were many hikers huddled under trees or setting up tents. Thunder and lightning. Dark clouds ahead along the ridge where the trail led to. I kept going.
Along the ridge and down the other side. A long hike into the late evening. The thunder continued to rumble through the mountains. It rained a bit. 2 miles before I got to Chimney creek camp, hikers’ footprints had been washed off the trail by the rain. There was only fresh bear prints. Cool. I wasn’t scared. I sang “yogi, yogi, yogi”
It was dusk as I made my way along the sandy road through an empty Chimney creek campground. After a mile I could see car campers! I girl called out, “Hey, how are you?” “Ok thanks. Is there water up ahead?” I asked. “Oh we have plenty of water here. We just made dinner. Can you join us?” What?! Really?! Ah yea! “Oh thank-you” I said.
I had a thick slice of roast beef, cooked on the campfire, corn on the cob, marinated fresh green beans, and (omg) garlic bread. Washed down with a beer. I got to sit in a camp chair, not on the ground. Casey is a great cook. Sooooo good. It was going to be cold mash potatoes and salmon again. I couldn’t believe my luck. Thank-you to my personal trail angels Casey, Ben, and John. Also got snuggles with their dogs, one eyed Chihuahua, Rosy, and their snorting, very vocal and cuddly, pit bull cross, Dixie.
The desert scents, sounds, sights, and wind remind me of being a child. Every summer we had our family camping holidays. Sleeping in a canvas tent on Osoyoos Lake, in the desert of BC, Canada.