30.1 miles (Miles 1546.2 – 1576.3)
PCT Mile 1546.2 – Middle Boulder Lake Trail
As I hiked today, I thought a lot about my Aunt Karen. I found out when I talked to my mom in Shasta City that she is very sick and in the hospital with temporary paralyzation. I don’t remember the name of what she is sick with, but it sounded like she will get better with a long road to recovery. It’s really hard to be so far away from home when things like this happen with family. I figure the best thing I can do is pray and send good thoughts their way. Today I said a few prayers and thought of her often. I wish there was a way I could give up days of my strength to share with her or other loved ones struggling… so Aunt Karen, I’m thinking of you and hoping you get better soon and you recover quickly. Remember that little red wagon! You’ve got this!
I’ve been really enjoying my little Hubba tent and it’s thin mesh walls. I woke up in the middle of last night to a bazillion stars twinkling above me. I remember feeling so warm cuddled up in my puffy sleeping bag, smiling, then rolling to my side and falling comfortably right back to sleep. I slept really well, which turned out to be a good thing since we hiked a big day.
Yesterday I mentioned how this area reminded me of a miniature high Sierras. That continued today. I would say it’s like a low Sierras, but I wonder if there’s actually a place already referred to as low Sierras. Besides, I thought mini high Sierras was a fun and appropriate way to describe it. Anyway, we had ridge walks, forest strolls, rocky scrambles, mud jumping, and a few fun, gradual climbs. The valleys and mountains didn’t disappoint, especially early morning and late evening. The mountains like to soak in some pretty amazing magic from the sunlight and glow in a rainbow of pastel colors. This afternoon, some far-off, whitish-colored peaks turned purple, pink, blue and orange. Mt. Shasta even made another appearance today, majestic as ever.
After hiking for a little while by myself this morning, I caught up with Atlas, and he and I stuck together for the rest of the day. He was telling me all kinds of trail stories from his thru hike on the Appalachian Trail in ’09, and his three other attempts on the PCT. He had some fun stories, and it made time fly by like crazy today. We took quite a few breaks and took our shoes off a lot, which Atlas highly encouraged. My feet were much less tender at the end of today compared to yesterday, and we did more miles, so I am going to try to continue this foot-saving strategy. Tears joined me and Atlas around noon and pushed on with us, successfully hiking her first 30-mile day! It was exciting. Crushed it!
On these past few stretches of trail, my hiking confidence has grown significantly. I’m excited to see what I might be able to do with it. Hiking a fast 12 miles out to I-5 last week felt good, and being able to keep up with Rocks for half a day helped me realize I can hike pretty hard if I want or need to. I did my third day over 30 miles today, and I feel really good tonight – great, in fact. Rocks told me he thought I could easily do a 35 or 40 if I wanted, and Atlas was trying to convince me to try for 40 today. I was flattered. I smiled bashfully, but had to decline… for now. After a few more 30’s, maybe I’ll be ready to try 40… but only if it makes sense. That’s a lot of miles in one day out here, and I’m still not sure. I worry I’ll miss something, or pass something up that I should be stopping to enjoy. I would have to choose the day as wisely as I could. We’ll see. Talk of 40’s got me thinking about it. That can be dangerous, but sometimes so good. One day I started thinking about thru hiking the PCT… and here I am.
Tomorrow I’m thinking about pushing out to the road where I could maybe meet up with Aloha. Tears and G-bird are planning on getting out early Tue. morning, so I would be taking a full zero day if I did that… but I’d have an extra evening with the hubs. It’s another 30 miles out, so I thought I’d get up early and maybe give it a try. I think I can do it, but that also means I should get some good sleep tonight. I’ve got great stars again, cool air and a warm sleeping bag. I think I’m set.
Tonight I love my Aunt Karen.
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!