Right before skydiving.
Like, when I was on the bus with my family, heading toward a little plane we were about to jump out of.
My insides were an uneasy mixture of fear, anticipation, terror, annoyance (this was a family Christmas present from Mum and Dad so I couldn’t get out of it), a sliver of excitement and more fear. I didn’t know what to expect. Mostly, I just wanted to get it over and done with and have my feet planted back on the ground.
That’s the closest I’ve felt to what was going on inside of me this morning.
And in the end, I didn’t like skydiving, which did not help me today at all.
I’m not big on researching or planning out an adventure. This has already been a big stretch for me in having to learn how to read water reports, to work out how many litres I drink per mile, according to the time of day, the elevation gains and losses, the weight in my pack. You can’t not do your homework to make this trip happen – and those that don’t, don’t usually finish to boast about it afterward.
Still, I have not looked into some of the terrain or path as much as others have. I figure, if I look closely at every day as it comes, I can survive with water. And if I have a general idea of how many miles are between me and the next town, I can budget for food carries.
I guess we can put it down to this nonchalant approach that I hadn’t heard of San Jacinto. Not until yesterday, when everyone started having jitters and discussing whether they’d stick to the offical PCT route hugging the side of the mountain, or do a little extra: branch off, and climb to the summit.
I’m not one to back down from a challenge.
Even if it is a blood nose, or having to stop and throw my pack off so I could vomit easier over the side (I ended up only dry heaving though.. wanted to conserve that food and water inside me).
I had plugged my headphones in and just legged it up – only for the sudden, steep altitude change to get the better of my body.
I kept going; I just slowed my pace a little and stopped to take more photos.
Even with my ‘slower’ pace, I nailed that mountain.
Give me up over down any day.
I reached Speedy maybe 200m from the top. He had already gone to the peak and was on his way back down, but I turned him around so we could wait for the others and take a group picture. We figured they couldn’t be too far behind, but where I had opted to not take any breaks the whole 10kms up and push through, they had listened to their bodies and taken smaller stops along the way – adding up to an hour wait for us.
While we were there – just a two minute climb from the top – we had a picnic lunch, I got my uke out, and a small group of people started to join us. Not that I generally have too much of a hard time anyway, but making friends out here seems so easy and natural!
Khaleesi and Dario arrived, and then they had to have lunch too, so we stayed and played and laughed for a while longer, before the last rock scramble to get up.
Obviously I chose the hard way: I figured I was carrying my pack the whole way to Canada – I could carry it right to the top here too! And so I did ❤️
We had another lot of fun up on top, with only a few side glances from day hikers who preferred their serene moment not to be disturbed by laughter.
Maybe we did have too much fun… But is that possible?
Nearly four hours after reaching the top, it was past time to head back down and make camp for the night.
There were still 10kms or so to go, and they were downhill. My knees ached, even with stretches and braces and deep mindful breathing.
I found solace/peace/comfort in the land I was surrounded by.
The views just keep on being spectacular. And I felt like Alice in Wonderland, as I wound my way through hedges overgrown and disturbed only by hikers much like myself.
I just kept telling myself it was like Wonderland as the path grew thinner and those thorns stretched out further. The wet wipe bath stung a little tonight, let’s just leave it at that.
There was one last water source for the next 33km stretch, so we loaded up.
That guy in the middle there, bending over with a salmon shirt? That’s Rob. He is an absolute delight!! I mentioned him a couple days back; he and his wife Rose dropped us into town after our Spitler Peak descent. Every time I see him, my heart lights up. He’s like a papa out here for me, and always a symbol of safety and comfort. He calls me a trouble maker, though. Not sure why.
We only did a short ten kilometres more to camp after the water.
Tomorrow is another big one. In some ways, it’s scarier than the trip up: we’re going down. A long way down.