mile 478.2 – mile 499.4
Not sure of my mileage for the day, since we had yet another detour (the Powerhouse fire detour) and I hitched the road walk portion and got back to trail via a campground trail. 

I had an amazing sleep in the manzanita forest last night. I dreamed about people I used to know and snoozed and snoozed until I was darn well ready to get out of my tent, which was, coincidentally right about when the coffee and pancakes were served. Spoiled hikers!

I decided yesterday that I would ease into today. I’m tired, body, mind and spirit right now. Worn down by the beating of my own feet along the trail. I’m in need of nurture. So, I joined the others back in the outside living room, all of us in our Hawaiian shirts. All of us so happy to be there. 

These were my main goals for the day:

1) schedule my blog posts

2) paint a rock- a little Casa de Luna tradition

3) sign the Class of 2016 banner

4) pack and hike out, but on my own schedule

I accomplished all of these. My feet feel a lot better. My knees feel a bit better. My spirit feels soothed. My mind feels more still.
It felt really good to set off alone today. It felt good to take care of myself. It felt good to do what I wanted, at my own speed, to make up my own mind. It also felt good to be okay with the consequences of doing that, too. Most of the people I know are ahead of me by some margin now. That was really scary to me at first, but now I have accepted that it opens me up to meet new people, or just to be more in touch with my self and my needs. 
I set off from Casa de Luna around 4:00. We had yet another detour around a fire closure, which started right where we got off the PCT to come to Casa de Luna. The detour involved about a 12 mile road walk. One of the volunteers, a hiker himself, drove me and three others past the road walk to where a campground trail would take us back to the official PCT. 
The campground trail hit the PCT around mile 493. Around mile 494, I found Blazer, already camped for the night. He had set off earlier that day to do the whole road walk and ended up hitching part of it and stopping to have some lunch at the Rock Inn in Lake Hughes along the way. I was hoping to make it to mile 500 tonight, so I pushed on. I fully expect to see him by lunchtime tomorrow. 
A couple of miles later, I met Cashmere. I think she said she started on May 7! Wow! She’s moving! We walked and talked the rest of the evening, which helped me keep up my pace and helped the time go by. She’s a college Chemistry professor in Atlanta, so she’s on a deadline to get back to her classes in the fall. She hiked the AT last year and has plans to do the CDT in a few years. 
Just as I was thinking I really needed to switch to my glasses from my sunglasses we walked out onto this dirt road crossing. I had to pee, so I walked over to some bushes and found that there were some really nice flat places under the pine trees on a little hill overlooking a valley below. We decided to both stay here and cowboy camp for the night. 
Just as I finished setting up my nest, the sun went down and it got really cold. Here I am, bundled up in my little bed, writing to you. In the morning, I will pass the PCT 500 mile mark! 
Today I met Cashmere, a college Chemistry professor from Atlanta, hiking her second long trail.
Today I learned that nothing bad will happen if I take it slow. It’s really nice to not feel rushed. 
Today’s hike was powered by doing what I wanna do, and Playlist #6.