Location- Forested ridge
Elevation- 7,972 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 24 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 1,177.3 miles
Weather/Temp- clear 70s windy
Pain level- sore feet
Days without shower- 1
I woke up in no rush this morning; slept in until the moment to get out of bed felt just right. Slipped on my wind pants and wind shirt. Walked to the McDonalds down the road. Ate my 3 bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits slowly. Sipped on some extra sweet tea and watched the people come and go for about 20 mins. Walked across the street to a plaza and had a second breakfast in the form of a bacon, egg, and cheese foot long at subway. Sat for about ten minutes sipping a Dr. Pepper and watching people go by out the window. Walked to an outfitter in the same plaza called Blue Zone sports. Strolled around looking at all the biking, kayaking, paddle boarding, backpacking, and camping gear, as I day dreamed about all the things I could do with such fancy items; for about half an hour. Padded back up the road to my hotel. Watched “ID Discovery” unsolved mysteries for an hour. Packed up all my food and gear. Checked out an hour early. Started walking back across town to the main road to stage a hitchhiking attempt. Didn’t make it half a mile before a man pulled over and offered me a ride without me even having to stick my thumb out. Got to the trail a little after 11am. Hiked 24 miles before 7:30 pm. Made camp with a German man, and a South Korean man. Made a fire. Ate a delicious dinner of mountain house sweet and sour pork. Had excellent conversation with “Jam” and “Petah” about their native homes and what they my miss most about them. Now I’m laying in my hammock, toasty warm with my feet propped up, a violet sky slowly fading to black above me, without a care in the world.
That was my day in a nutshell. I took everything slow, went with the flow, did everything I wanted to do, still bagged big miles, and didn’t feel an ounce of stress, frustration, or anxiety all day. I forget so often that slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. If you stay calm, focused, and don’t allow yourself to be flustered; you can accomplish more, quicker and happier, than if you permit yourself to become anxious, scattered, and in a hurry. Stay in the moment, do what feels right, when it feels right, and everything falls into place naturally. It doesn’t matter how quick something is getting done, but if it’s going smoothly, then it’s happening as fast as it needs to.
The man who picked me up this morning was named Trevor. He’s on ski patrol, and a ski instructor, as well as a professional white water kayaker. A jack of all trades who’s lived in Truckee for 15 years, but hails originally from southern Oregon. Despite all of these very interesting skills and hobbies, the most interesting thing I found about him, was his next door neighbor; Justin “Trauma” Lichter, a world renowned long distance hiker that’s hiked just about every destination long tail in the world, plus many other hikes that he’s mapped out himself. Prior to my first thru hike of the AT, Justin’s blog/website was one of the first ones I ever looked at for long distance hiking. He’s got several books out, I think mostly informational, rather than storytelling/narrating. Anyways, he’s one of the most famous names in long distance hiking, and I just got picked up by his friend/next door neighbor; AWESOME!
That amazing coincidence would have never happened if I had done just a single thing different this morning. Today was nothing more than a testament to how the stars will align when you let things happen naturally. I wanted to enjoy and soak up the town of Truckee this morning in whatever way I could, so I did, and my rose smelling was rewarded with my best day on trail in over 3 weeks.
As far as the hike went today, it was relaxing and beautiful; nothing but constant climbs and descents. Once again, nothing out of the ordinary or fantastical; just me and my thoughts. Speaking of my thoughts, I spent the entire afternoon completely retreated into my imagination. Nothing really constructive, but immensely entertaining. I basically made up scenarios, conversations, interactions, and alternate futures with people from the past, celebrities, people I know, etc. I replayed old memories from past fish battles, and rewrote some of the outcomes/circumstances. It was a very interesting afternoon, but I enjoyed myself to no end. If anything, I missed talking to Katana. I never realized how much I talked to her and Schweppes, until I had nothing and no one to talk to anymore.
I received a text from Schweppes today asking me to skip ahead to hike with him, and promising that we’d go back to hike what I missed after we finished. He must be losing his mind. After all the hours we’ve spent shit-talking the skippers out here, he really believes I’m going to join that crowd? He’s either going crazy, or he’s trying to test me. Either way, I’m worried about his sanity. No way Jose.
I have 18 miles, mostly downhill, to reach a road that leads into the town of Sierra City tomorrow. The town itself is only a mile and a half from the trail. I will certainly be going in there, soaking it in, leaving my footprints and good impressions, then doing whatever feels right; be it hiking on, or sponging up some more of the town.