Oh yea. I made it to wrightwood late last night. I caught a ride with a forest service man who nervously bungy corded my pack to the back the side of his pick-up truck. The ride was quick and he gave me a bag of chips for my stomach noises. It was past 7pm and the sun had gone over the ridge, a long day was over... mile high pizza here I come. I got the Racoon pizza...ham, pepperoni, bell peppers gallore(I know... I eat them now!) and layered in hickory smoked bacon washed down with tons of water. The place gave us free cinnamon sticks and icing. Amazing.
I'm not sure what I should tell ya'll, or what you would be interested in hearing. I love hiking, the lifestyle change has sunk in. I enjoy meeting other hikers and learning about their pains and worries. Interestingly it is when I am alone on the trail that the beauty of my surroundings hits me. I stop and stare out after every ridge climb. Life is beautiful and I have a much better understanding of the little things. Yesterday it kind of hit me. I really made it out here, I'm really living life a minute at a time. I can't believe I'm living my dream.
I have trail legs now. I can hike 20 mile days back to back and feel good at the end of the night. I am however losing feeling in my left heel. The impact zones on that foot are blasted. I wake in the middle of the night with that heel hurting. When I wake up though I can put the miles on and feel good about it, no pain... no feeling really. I've begun to eat lots of food, not enough on the trail but when I get in town I eat close to 5,000 calories. On the trail I probably barely hit 2,000. I've lost fat and gained muscle. What I love about being out here is that I am in a constant state of happiness. My laugh sounds more real, my smile is truer, and my face is emotonally honest. It's like those kids with a new toy: bright eyed and excited. I'm making new friends and still figuring out that even though everyone else is a solo hiker they all need help, kindness, and a patient ear. Sometimes I want to rush them, or out walk them so I can listen to nature and not their life story or what they plan on doing when they finish hiking... but I stop myself.
Slimjim, the southern pain in the ass has caught up to me. He's a computer over. I'm glad he's caught up. It's relieving to hike with someone my age, who has a relaxing personality, and plays things by ear like me. He keeps to himself mostly but I think he likes my company. I hope I'll be able to keep up with him, he's been hiking 25+ miles to catch up to me... the most mileage I've hit was 23.5 and got into camp around 4:30-5pm. We usually hike with Mango, the 63 yr old from Tenn. We're an interesting and oddly good group. We work well together and enjoy hiking independently during the day.
What I didn't expect to find out here is how important people skills or rather social skills are even in the middle of no where. There are all sorts of people out here with different levels of experience... with different pasts and better and newer hopes for the future. Some are bitter about losing jobs and their negativity tends to ruin my day. I try to out hike them, or wait an hour before continuing on. It's amazing how that type of person can affect your day if they are the only human interaction you have.
MB - I miss your smile in the morning. I miss work but more than anything I miss the people. I think about NSC a lot. I hope the guys are treating you well... they like pranks... so you might want to try to throw a curve ball at them!
DG - I'm pushing 20 mile days on average. It's good going. I am so glad to be out here. Independence has a new definition for me now. I'm growing in to having a full backbone and learning patience can be the best way to reaching an end goal.
OK - Go single life baby!!! BTW - peactree city is mostly baby boomers, but one of the 5 villages is being redeveloped to attract the singles. If I may suggest...look there for apartments. The chapstick you sent is absolutely amazing. And the lotion. I'm becoming a truely golden child after so much sun. I love getting letters from you!
EB - I miss our coffee talks, I hope life and jobs are going well. I wish I could be there with you in a Caribou chating. I am so glad we are friends, I'm glad you always encouraged me to do what I want and do what makes me happy. It's the best advice.
RE - I might be taking a bus up to the Canadian border and hiking south with all the snow. When I know I'll be coming through you'll know too!!
BH - I finished my first notebook in time for the second one. I write so much. When I get back to the busy world of no hiking I'll start typing up my stories and experiences...the long versions. The characters here are addicting, mysterious, and sometimes annoying. I'll be sure to send you what I come up with. If you didn't know, I love writing. While I was working with you in ATL I wrote about 10-20 pages a week. I'll be giving you a call after this blog post too. :) I miss you.
KW - I am sending my pictures home so you should see some of what I see. I'm sorry I didn't take more pictures. The first week or two I was just trying to make it to the end of the day. I've began to take more pictures once I started hiking 20 mile days. Life on the trail got easier at that point. I'm really safe, I always take the safer route. Well.. I lie. Yesterday I made the mistake of taking the snow route and didn't kick in enough and managed to fall down a 15 foot steep snow slope... the back of my legs look kind of ugly because a log and lots of twigs stopped me. I got off the snow route and took the jeep road. The cuts are fine. I'm a real woman, I can do anything! I haven't met anyone with an outlook on life like yours, I miss our talks.
SR - I wish I had some rubberbands so we could have a rubberband fight, or I could help you with your computer. I'm glad I'm out here, it's worth everything. I miss you too.
JK - I still can't believe I'm out here. Tell your wife it is life changing. I am different already and my outlook on much of life has changed for the better. Life gets simple and enjoying every minute is possible.
Paul - If you want to send me anything please feel free! send me or my mum an email for our home address... or well if your in ATL you could probably just drop it off. Oh and I'm in a library... I think blogging is worth the time and energy.
Caribou Boys!! / Zac - I miss playing pool, drinking beer, tequila, and coffee all in one night. But seeing the sunset and sunrise everyday is worth it. I hope everyone is doing well. I miss running into ya'll and chatting about life, dreams, and passions. I hope the summer crowd has returned.
OAC Meeting - Psh, come out here for a meeting and each of you would be late. Productivity would dramatically decrease but I guarentee each of you would love it. The desert is beautiful. There's a sterility to the environment that no amount of termporary walls or extra air fans can provide. The flowers are more gorgeous than the Coca-Cola swosh when perfectly placed on any wall. I think each of you would like it out here... D. Florez... don't have dreams about me... it sounds strange. When I'm done with this hike though I feel I will be able to give you the best, most beautiful locations to visit so hang tight for another few months!!
Also... Slimjim has a blog as well and his parents will be posting so new videos... I'm in a few so check his blog out in a few days.(I don't think the videos are posted yet.) You'll get to see me... walking on snow - kicking in, river crossings... and maybe a few more I'm not aware of. 5000milesummer.blogspot.com
If you have any questions or want me to talk about anything in particular please write to me!! I read the comments!