Weve made it 370 miles and the flow has arrived. We move up and down mountain ranges, across landscape, through blistered feet to the bliss of hiking into sunset and setting up camp in dusk because its just too hard to stop.
This last section from Idyllwild to Wrightwood took us eight days from over 10,000 feet down to 1230 to the oven- hot valley floor and them back up again. Endless up and downs. There was one memorable day-long descent of 9300 meters from the peak of jan jacinto pine rock to the dusty blooming creosote that somehow survives 42 degree heat. Ouch. The three mile sandy walk to shade at the bottom was the hottest and most fatigued i remember: who knew that a smelly underpass would provide such sweet shade relief ? I can only imagine what the mojave will bring, especially as i have ditched my umbrella in a “my pack is too heavy” low blood sugar induced purge. Whoops.
We skipped 30 miles after cabazon due to a fire closure. While i was sad to miss miles, we made it up by hosting a memorable fruit buffet party for hiker friends on the shuttle bus. This almost felt better than walking those hot burnt miles even though everyone was torn about following the rules with rumours the trail was actually in perfect shape. Alas, with 2000 hikers this season its good to be a sensitive member of the herd instead of pushing my own singular goals.
Big bear to here was wordlessly perfect despite my feet growing out of my shoes. You would think this was impossible after thirty years of feet, but i live to tell the truth: my toes are a blistered shred and rei express is the best friend a hiker can have. New shoes, please be kind. But the feet didnt matter once one got past the initial five minute hobble and various kinds of tape. Almost.This section was cruisy. There was water! Glorious water to camp with night after night! Swimming in the creek! The lake! I could drink as much as i wanted and not worry i was over my share! There was perfection among the hippies and hot springs where the pools were large enough to cliff jump into and a pair of bay area artists left a gift of a wine bag and snickers bars. There was trail magic of root beer floats delivered at a dusty roadside. Be still my heart.
The miles fly by now; somehow its often lunch and 10 passed already in quiet contemplation or impassioned debated bliss. Walking becomes fast if its all you do 10 hours a day. Up and down and up and down. Sometimes i think about work or life but often justdaydream about much beloved hiker things like picnic tables or ice.
Add in another 9000 foot waterless climb and we’ve reached now: pinyon pines, gusty winds, and the distant lights of los angeles which im happy to avoid. Forest time, its an easy way to get home.