Hello dear readers,
I have not posted in a couple of weeks, and for that I am sorry! I think today I will share some highlights, things noticed, and lessons learned from the trip thus far….
- It is nearly impossible to walk through a windfarm with an open umbrella. I did manage it though, because it was so hot and the umbrella added a couple degrees of shade!
- Seven rattlesnakes sighted. While they no longer scare me and are kind of cool, I think I have had my fill. Most people only see two or three in a trip.
- I have seen billions of lizards, and they range in colors – some look handpainted with patterns and rainbow hues, some are black, some black with turquise scales, some leapord spotted, some a little orange, and my favorite – a thin creature that almost looked like a snake until I saw its slender feet, gold on the front half, bright blue on the back. Also, lizards like to do push ups to show you how big and tough they are.
- Trail magic is real. You are hiking along, enjoying yourself but also tired, and suddenly in the woods you come across a cooler full of water and fruit and hard boiled eggs, left behind by a friendly hiker-supporter (this particular one is named Lonely Turtle, a high school math teacher). It’s fun to sign and look through the log book to see who else passed through that you’ve met, and how far ahead they are.
- Flushing toilets are a gift. God bless the plumber who invented them.
- Showers and soap and clean towels, also underappreciated until you are a dirty smelly hiker who longs to be clean!
- Post-fire and cacti flowers make the most amazing bursts of color in the desert. Even dry, harsh climates glow with life and beauty.
- Kindness arrives from the most unexpected places. A group of campers we came across on Memorial Day Weekend invited us to join them for fish soup. Natalie and I sang for our suppers and we all spent our evening together, talking about hiking, listening to their stories of ultra-distance running (up to 100 miles in eighteen hours!). Both sides thought the other was crazy, them for running so far so fast, us for hiking so far for so long. One of them rubbed my foot and looked at my hurting ankle, and the parable of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet really hit home. When you are tired and aching and your soul longs for someone to care for you, and angels masquerading as people arrive and invite you to dinner and care for your feet, you know there is love in the world - love that exists with no intention other than for you to accept and pass along in turn.
- The trail has a beautiful philosophy of pay it forward.
I think that’s it for now! We have hiked 369 miles. Next week we will be in Agua Dulce, where there are a couple of popular trail angel homes: The Saufleys, and the Andersons (home of Hippie Day Care). Happy Trails!