Location- Side of Lake
Elevation- 7,792 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 11.3 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 1,101.4 miles
Weather/Temp- clear, windy, 70s
Pain level- low
Days without shower- 2
Got into Tahoe a little after 11am and had the car returned before noon. Then I walked over a mile down the road to a pizza buffet, carb loaded, walked out to the side of the super busy hwy 50 and stuck my thumb out. Despite the traffic, it took forever to get a ride, which ended up being with a middle aged woman named Marleen.
I was back at the trail by 2:30pm and finally hiking after nearly 9 days of being in a seated or sedentary position. My legs felt heavy and stiff, but still strong. I hiked leisurely until about 6:30pm and racked up over ten miles. A good warmup for my first day back. All of this switching gears between hiking and driving has been really hard on me. It feels like I’m breaking myself back in each time. In a way, I feel like it’s a lot harder on my psyche and my body with all the stop and go, and trips home, than if I was to simply remain on the trail non stop. You would think the breaks and the trips home would be refreshing/relaxing, but in all honesty they’re not. They just make this hike harder and more drawn out. Not to mention, it’s absolute torture on my OCD to leave the trail.
I’m feeling quite depressed about Katana not being with me for good now. I feel like I’ve conceded defeat on both our parts. A defeat that’s been lost on a technicality…the worst kind.
Naturally, I did a lot of thinking over the course of my 5,000+ mile, one week drive. I thought a lot about the trail, the hike, and how I’m fitting into all of it.
Since the High Sierra, A LOT of people have quit. They quit in the Sierra, and just after it. I still hear from many hikers that they are contemplating throwing in the towel. One thing that surprised me is that a lot of former AT hikers have quit. Most of them sighting that this trail was not what they expected, and a far cry from the experience they had on the Appalachian Trail. They’re absolutely right; the two trails are like night and day.
The Appalachian Trail is about the journey, the journey inward and outward; the camaraderie, the people, the cultures, the towns, the enchantment. This trail is about the views…the views, the views, the views. The camaraderie is a fraction of what it was on the AT, and the culture is somewhat non existent; unless you consider the major Hispanic, Oriental, or Tourist influences in every town “culture,” which it is (in its own way), but they seem to be the only theme so far. Many former AT hikers cited a feeling of “walking on egg shells” out here. I agree. People just aren’t as friendly (even the other hikers), and they’re very easily offended out here. The AT was about cutting lose, forgetting social norms, and not sweating the small stuff, because in the end, it’s all small stuff. Out here…it’s the end of the world if you don’t pack out your shit covered toilet paper. I’m sure there is an excellent reason for it, but quite a few people get really bent out of shape if they find out you’re not doing it.
I guess I can say I’ve never seen so many homeless before in my life. I’ve never been asked so many times for… change, bus passes, food, cigarettes, etc. It’s just very different out here, and although I’m still enjoying my time on this trail, if I’m honest about how I feel on the inside, I truly want to just get it over with. There’s still plenty of time for it all to turn around and change up, but for now, my focus is on Canada, then getting back to my dog, beach paradise, and friendly southern town. Chalk these feelings up to being the “California Blues.” 1,600 miles in one state is a lot.
So now Schweppes is in the neighborhood of 200 miles ahead of me. With no dog, and nobody to hike with, I’m curious to see what I can do. The High Sierra showed me that my body is still very capable. I’m determined to see how capable. My goal is to push between 30 to 40 miles a day until I reach Oregon, or catch Schweppes, then asses my timeline and see how I’m feeling. I really want to shoot for some 40+ mile days, just to see how my body handles it. Since hitting my mid twenties, I really don’t give my body’s capabilities enough credit. I’ve had a lot of surgeries over the past few years, which has led me to feel like I’m falling apart, or even fragile. I forget what I used to be capable of in the not so distant past. I need to turn off the safe cruise control, and really open myself up for a while. If anything, it will distract me from my separation anxiety, and get me back to the puppy that much quicker.
I feel like the overall tone of this post is pretty negative, and I apologize for that, but I also can’t help it. This is what’s on my mind this evening, and I think it’s obvious I’m not in the highest of places right now. I’m sure my outlook will improve as my time back in the woods increases.
Tomorrow I’m going to push it, but try not to overdo it if I’m still feeling stiff. I had a bit of a sharp pinch in my left hip today, but I’m confident that’s going to work itself out.