At around 9pm last night, my bladder woke me up to the most lovely starry sky. I couldn’t see the Milky Way but it was still brilliant. When my watch started beeping at 4:30, I heard rain on my tent. Wait, I’m still in the desert- why is it raining?! Back to sleep…
I eventually got myself onto the trail at 7am just to immediately get passed by yet another speedy hiker. Whatever, I’m over it. I enjoyed the slow ascent around the next mountain, mesmerized by the heavy fog cloaking the surrounding peaks.
Occasionally the sun would shine through, revealing lovely views and an odd trail landmark…
Eventually that heavy fog progressed to a misty rain and soon I was soaked and chilled. I hiked and hiked on my own, just trying to find somewhere warm and dry as the wind stole any bit of warmth I could generate. This IS stil the desert, right??
Suddenly I descended into a valley where huge pine trees materialized out of the fog and it was a like a woodland oasis with tall grasses, ferns, wildflowers, even lichens on the trees. It reminded me of hiking at home, which warmed me in its own way. A deer bounded away from me and startled me- when you’ve become accustomed to lizards and beetles, you don’t expect furry woodland creatures!
I sat on a log for a snack, and soon three hikers came up the trail. They introduced themselves as Felicia (Siesta, from Canada), Shannon and Lucas (married, from Houston). They started the trail the day before I did and had been stopping to look at the wildlife and the views, taking the miles slowly and trying to take it all in. Have I found some people?!
I hiked with them into Mount Laguna where we went to the cafe to dry off and warm up. I got chili and hot tea which was heavenly, and the four of us decided to camp together. As we were leaving the cafe, however, we got some incredible trail magic in the form of lodging: a local offered all the hikers in the cafe access to a local building with power and water for free. All 17 hikers there cheered and hurrahed before hiking the mile down the road to this building.
We have made a pretty wonderful hikertrash hostel out of it, and have been able to get to know each other better while sharing food, stories, knowledge, and self-care techniques. I have been talking with a man from Germany, Andreas, who also quit his job and has many of the same viewpoints as I do. It is interesting to see how someone from another country views things, especially American life.
Meeting these people has really made my day, and despite the brutality of the trail itself, the magic is all around. Looking forward to what tomorrow brings.
Trail magic: 1 (5 stars!)
Blisters: 0 (new)
Hiked with: mostly alone, then Siesta, Shannon and Lucas
Camped with: PITA (Pain In The Ass/Sophia), Backtrack, Koolaid (Oliver), Liam, Matt, BigMoney, Peaches, Becky, Gaelin, Ian, Shannon, Lucas, Siesta, Andreas, Professor and Jukebox.