Mile 61.5 – Mile 7715.5 miles

Every day on the trail is like three in real life. So much happens! 

The wind woke me up at 1:00 am, and I was amazed to see my tent holding its own. The next thing I knew, it was 4:30 and time to get moving. It was a groggy, disorganized morning. Wang (Karen) took off first and I followed about 30 minutes later.
Taking off, I stood and watched the sunrise and just tried to be present and appreciative. It’s easy to slog through miles, especially this early when I’m still getting acclimated and feeling so stiff and sore. It’s nice to stop every so often and just breathe and soak it in. 
Fog crept along the mountains all morning, as we entered the dry, hot desert landscape. Only a glimpse of what’s to come. Our plan had been to walk 11 miles, camp and then walk the last 4.5 and hitch into Julian the next day, but the miles were pretty easy and we decided to push through. Got a hitch with some day hikers we met on trail, so nice of them. They had all kinds of advice for us and were really excited about hiking. It’s endearing, how excited people get. 
We got into town and made out way to Carmen’s Place, a cute little lunch place in the middle of Julian. Carmen is an amazingly kind woman who gives us dirty, stinky hikers a sort of home base from which to rest and regroup. Everyone gets to town with a list of chores to accomplish, but it’s really disorienting to be dropped into the middle of civilization all of a sudden. It’s a relief to have someplace to gather your wits. 
Carmen is what is called a trail angel- a gracious person who does nice things for hikers out of the kindness of their hearts. Not only does she give us a home base, she lets us do our laundry and gives us hot foot soaks! This alone will change a hiker’s entire outlook on life! 
Tonight there are eight of us crammed into a tiny hotel room, making the cost of sleeping indoors doable for hikers on a budget. There are three people in beds and the rest of us are occupying every last inch of floor space. It’s glorious. 
I’m all showered and laundried up and I still stink. But, so does everyone else, so there. 
 In other news, I feel like I lost weight since this morning. I was hungrier today, but still not very hungry and no real cravings. I’m definitely forcing myself to eat to keep my energy up. I’m okay with losing the weight, though. I started out a good 10-15 lbs. over where I like to be and losing the extra weight is making me feel lighter and more able to glide through the miles. 

Uphills a have always been difficult for me. I slow waaaay down. While we have mostly been going downhill for the past couple of days, there have been some uphill sections, and I have developed a new technique, which I think is starting to pay off. When I start going uphill, I begin chanting inside my head about how much I love walking uphill. It’s kind of ridiculous and silly, but I think it works and that’s all that matters. It goes something like this: “Uphills are great! Uphills are fun! I’m so good at going uphill! Uphills are a fun challenge! My legs are so strong, stronger and stronger! My lungs are so healthy! I like Uphills, yes I do! I like uphills, how bout you?!” Lmao. Like I said, it ridiculous, but seems to work for me. Better than thinking about how hard it is and how much I hate it. Ha!
Today was the first day I really felt homesick. I’m realizing how much Hunter and I have our own little language and I miss it. Also, we always have music going on at home and I’m really missing that a lot. I’ve been using my phone battery too much to check emails and Instagram and haven’t been giving myself enough music time each day. That’s got to change. 
Today I met: Eddie and Lorian , awesome couple, so grounded and generous, Google “Have a nice day hike PCT 2016; Rosco from NC, hilarious; Gary from WA; Ryan from SLC, home of Jesus in Space; Domingo from Mexico, but I can’t remember the name of the city. All such good people. 
Today I learned: 
– Even when you have a list for town, you don’t often have control of how things happen. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow and accept what is. 

– The trail will provide what you need.  

– The kindness from a trail angel can turn your day around. 

Today’s hike was powered by Vulfpeck, Kendrick Lamar (thanks, Liam), and the promise of laundry, a shower and free pie.