Agua Dulce - Mile 454 - Jun 1st, 2016
Here I am at Hiker Heaven, Agua Dulce...PCT mile 454, finally writing my first on-trail journal entry. Time for computers is scarce out here! It's been a strange timeless journey through deserts, pine forests, up and down mountains, sandy stretches, deep chaparral, and a few towns. I've never been more filthy, sore or exhausted, but also feeling clear of mind, strong in body, alive and aware in each moment. This is a difficult experience to describe. Rather than list the places we've been up to date, I'll just say it's been a pretty amazing 454 miles of parks, mountains and back country. I'll certainly try my best from here to be more descriptive of the places as I walk through them. I hope the pictures, when I post them, will speak volumes of the beauty we've seen daily since Campo - Mile 0.
Paul (Potential 178) and I have had a great journey for the past 6 weeks, often spent with our new trail friends Max, Kate and Kennan. We all met on day 2 and have been mostly inseparable since. Paul is leaving back to Victoria tomorrow and I will continue on with my new trail buds. I am also eager to experience some solo hiking out here. Strangely enough, I haven't found as much time for quiet solo reflection out here as I anticipated. I'm really looking forward to that. It brings some challenges, but I am eager to face them. More on trail thoughts in another post.
Looking ahead, we are leaving tomorrow afternoon back for the trail, heading towards the Mojave Desert, where the temperatures are looking to be up to 40 degrees. Have reflective umbrella, electrolyte tablets and water, will travel. I have a few worries moving ahead from Hiker Heaven - my blisters are still pretty red and angry, I'll be heading out solo-ish, I'll miss my Potential 178 love and tour guide immensely and, well....the dark (still afraid of the dark!). Oh, and rattlesnakes, bears, injury, falling off a ledge, and falling in my cat hole after I've used it. While my nerves are triggered a bit, I'm eager to muster up all my strength and courage and walk on, regardless.
Walk, eat, walk, rest with shoes off, walk, eat, walk, set up tent, eat, sleep....repeat.
I do spend time thinking about all of you lovely family, friends and colleagues out there. I wonder how your lives are, how I wish I could share so much of this with so many of you, but mostly I always just come back to gratitude for you in my life and feel such love for you and support from you. Thank you always for your love and support, I know how blessed I am.
A final note about some of my thoughts and energy about this hike. You'll notice my journal page is on Hikefor.com. While I have no expectation for any monetary donations towards the charitable organizations I'm shamelessly raising funds for during my hike, I would love to encourage anyone who is thinking about making a donation to please do that. Both Victoria Hospice and the Pacific Crest Trail Association are near and dear to my heart. Out here, I spend a lot of time reflecting on my work with hospice over the past several years and discussing hospice/palliative care with others and my heart is always warmed when I hear the stories from others out here about their experiences with hospice. The lives I've been privileged to witness and life lessons are near and dear to my heart daily. Also, this is one of the most beautifully maintained trails I've ever seen! The PCTA is a staff of 30 people, and a volunteer force of nearly 1800. Yet another amazing organization who couldn't function without it's volunteers. I wouldn't be walking this trail without either of these incredible and both severely underfunded organizations. So, there's my gratitude plug for both of them. Please follow the links to donate if you like. Alternately, the PCTA offers annual memberships if that's more your speed.
Sending love and hugs to you all,
Walking in love,
Stacy (aka Share Bear)
Agua Dulce - Mile 454 - Jun 1st, 2016