Ooooh it’s me. 🤢. It’s the norm out here but lord I could clear a room with how amazing I smell right now. For reference, I’m wearing the same clothes every day. Hiking 15+ miles in the heat. Showering about maybe once a week? You can do the math. But the good news is that I got new socks yesterday! They’re ingenious toe socks that help with blisters. I thought they would be uncomfortable but they’re great. I still lost one toenail from the toe squishing fiasco last week but now I’m in pretty good shape. Shoes that fit and toe socks. What more does anyone need? Terry helped me celebrate my 100 mile mark today. It’s actually mile 123 on the trail but because of the aforementioned toe fiasco I missed 23 miles earlier. I will eventually make those up but shit I just walked 100 miles! In 8 days. I’m not mad about that.
The last two days have been remarkable. We had to battle crazy gusty winds. Rattle snakes and the heat. But we were rewarded with amazingly beautiful fields of flowers not commonly found in Southern California. The rainy winter here produced some of the most amazing scenes I’ve ever seen. I have found I’m hungry all the time. I voluntarily ate a whole package of ramen noodles with instant potatoes in one sitting and I was still hungry afterward. But I’m always craving spinach and other veggies. I’ve got to figure out how to balance my diet. But I’m happy to eat whatever i can get my hands on right now. Everything tastes so good. Not showering for days is also something I swore I would never do again. But here I am. Stinky and salty and I volunteered for it. I feel bad for anyone around me. But it’s worth it. also I broke my pack 🙄. Leave it up to me. Good thing this stuff can get replaced. But I’ve got about 70 miles to go before I can get the replacement. Wish me luck. Let’s see how this turns out!!
5 days. 52 miles. Torn up feet. A lot of humble lessons learned. I have the utmost respect for these guys I’m hiking with. All veterans. All warriors. Every one of them have been through more than most people could imagine. Each with their own sense of humor and take on things. It’s going to be an interesting journey.
The question I’ve heard more than any other in the last few days is “what? Why would want to do that?” It’s very difficult for most people to understand why anyone would want to walk for five months straight. It’s a simple answer for me. Why not? It’s cliche but life really is too short. For me, the best part of this world we live in aside from relationships with good people is the beauty in nature. I am happiest when I’m smelling the rain right after the first couple of drops mix with the dirt on the sidewalk. Or when the sun is just about to rise and the whole sky turns orange in anticipation. No matter what else is happening those things can put my mind at ease. It helps me to breathe. This trip is my journey to connect with all the beauty that the western US has to offer. That’s why.
What does that really mean, to maximize the moment? It’s the phrase I have embraced to describe what can only be understood as my mid-life transformation. It’s not a crisis, no. This journey I’m on is about becoming the best version of me, living the best life I can. Everyone says life is too short but yet nearly all of us continue to walk down the same path much longer than we ought to before realizing that we don’t even want to go that way. We deal with shit we shouldn’t have to for many reasons. For me, maximizing the moment meant to stop. Breathe. Look at my surroundings and make the most of every moment that I’ve been given. So I am.
Rocky Mountain National Park, March 16, 2019
In a few short days I will embark on a physical, one stinky foot in front of the other, journey from Mexico to Canada. I’m about to voluntarily carry everything I need to survive on my back, shit in holes I dig, sleep on the ground, eat who knows what, see snakes, spiders and all kinds of other amazingly scary wildlife, oh and also see the stars. And the sunsets. And the sunrises. And wildflowers. I’m one hell of a lucky person, blessed in so many ways with people in my life who love without reservation; I’m surrounded by kindness and I’ve been given an opportunity to explore. So I want to share. If you don’t care, stop reading. Go do something else. If you do decide to read, be aware-I don’t always use nice people language. And I’m probably going to talk about shitting in holes and my stinky feet. Oh and how sunrises and sunsets the best thing ever.