Mileage 24 (23 plus 1 for water)
Mile 68 to mile 91
I can’t believe that I forgot that the first part of the trail is hard. I seem to have had total amnesia about that. This shit is HARD. In the first part of the trail you’re transitioning from fluffy city person to wiry, callused little animal who sleeps on the ground and feels no pain. You have to rip off your own skin to find the feral creature underneath. It’s painful in every sense.
I’ve decided it was my hamstring that was bugging me yesterday- it was tensing up all crazy and pulling everything else in a super painful way. I stretched deeply yesterday evening, dutifully drank my magnesium powder, and popped an ibuprofen. I slept ok on the windy cistern, which released the heat of the day until some point at which it… didn’t. When I woke my hamstring was achey but no longer acting like a wild thing, and I was able to walk all day with only other random, smaller pains that came and went like warnings from my body to keep my mileage low for now OR ELSE. I’ve let go of my fantasy of doing 30s right out of the gate, as glorious as that would be- gonna keep it around 25 until my tendons and ligaments turn to thru-hiker titanium. I know that’s still a lot but I wanted to pass ALL these 24 yo boys with their giant packs, not just keep pace with them. Oh well. It’s a long trail. My time will come.
The desert was hot today, and burnt, and there wasn’t any shade. I crossed over the baking valley, stopped in at scissors crossing where some kind person has started a new, much smaller cache, and then climbed and climbed up into the hills in the heat of the day. It was baking and glorious and I listened to Metallica and Rihanna and stopped to rest when I felt nauseous from the heat. Now I’m at 3rd gate cache, bedded down on the sandy ground in the balmy evening. Warner Springs tomorrow.
Pulled a giant cactus thorn out of my pinky toe. Peeled the tape off my foot to discover that the hotspot underneath had turned into a quarter-sized blister that had then… exploded. Forgot to re-apply sunscreen halway through the day. Didn’t brush my teeth for a few days and now I have a sore on my tongue. Butt chafe continues at about the same level.
I forgot to tell you! Gossamer gear lowered the straps two inches on my mariposa, and had it for me at kickoff. It fits me perfect now! I sent my other pack home- I love my mariposa. It’s so familiar- I’ve started reffering to it as my “heffalump”, due to its voluminous size and its propensity to look like an overstuffed marshmallow. I love how it carries water weight, and how I can just stuff things in there every which way. This pack is infinite!
Also! So many people have offered me neo-airs. Y’alls kindness and support overwhelms me. A neo-air will be waiting for me at paradise valley- thank you Bill and Cindy! I’m going to sleep like a freaking baby. I can’t wait.
Photos on my instagram.