Over the last week, I’ve experienced the extremes. In terrain. In weather. In energy levels. In mental resiliency. In pain. I’ve heard that the second week of thru-hiking is usually the hardest when the hiker questions wtf they were thinking. For me it was week three. We started out hiking uphill out of our second rest break. Packs full of food and water and way too heavy. We hiked up in sideways rain and rapidly dropping temperatures. All day I kept wondering why I was putting myself through this. And then I found this tent sight: …and then the next day we decided to hike up. 4000 ft. I started to have some pain in my quad so climbing became more and more challenging. And then we hit the snow. I was chasing the sunset so I just kept going and finally met my buddies and got to see a beautiful sunset. Nature always has a way of balancing things out.
The next day was the beginning of the mental struggle. My quad hurt with every step and there was a lot of uphill and downhill. And snow. A lot more snow. I tried hard to smile through it all but the 14 miles we did that day were exhausting. But my I met up with my buddies for the toughest part and we got through it. And then again I slept in a spectacularly beautiful area.
The next day we went downhill. 6000ft, 20 miles and an increase of 40 degrees into the desert. I discovered then that was what aggravated my leg more than anything. But we hitched a ride into town and got some more food and then camped out in the wind. The next couple days were full of windmills and hills, rattle snakes (this time I didn’t see any but they were definitely there) and river crossings. And route finding. And then climbing again. And a revelation. Food. Calories. I wasn’t eating near enough and it was making my mind, heart and soul suffer. Once I corrected that everything started to get better. Uphills and downhills got easier. We saw more snow after the crazy desert wind. And landed in Big Bear. I’ve heard a lot of people recently say how this is on their bucket list. While it’s amazing it’s not all fun. It’s fucking hard. It’s dirty. It’s gross. It stinks. But nature always has a way of balancing things out.