Day Fifteen: 301.8 – 331.1km

A 20 mile, 9,600ft descent didn’t mean much to me yesterday.

It does now:

It’s a

Bloody.

Long.

Way.

Down.

For everyone bar the Americans, it means a descent of THREE KILOMETRES over THIRTY KILOMETRES.

Still hard to wrap your head around?

Don’t worry, it was for me too. My body certainly understood it pretty well, pretty quickly though. Carrying five days’ worth of food and seven litres of water (as well as the rest of my life) on my back is a lot of weight. That translates to a lot of pressure pulling down on me. And when we take into account that I’ve just crossed more than 300 kilometres (YEAHH BABY! 💪🏽) and this next thirty is heading a long way down, you’ve gotta feel for my feet.

The sunrise was one of my favourites – warm rays peeping out through pine branches, welcoming us gently into a torturous day ahead.

I know some of these photos might be hard to understand fully as well, but there were a lot of switchbacks. A switchback is basically a zigzag down/up a mountainside, to ease the climb.
It also means losing your orientation, and frustration at seeing how close he path is below you but knowing it’s still going to take a good while before you work your way around and down there.

I finished the first section just behind the Swiss, and to whoever’s bumper sticker that was, I send my thanks.

I am doing great.
Just helps to be reminded of it – especially when I least expect it!

I keep going on about these views, but how can I not?

We’re walking over mountains, above clouds, down into valleys, and life is a dream.

I get to make adult choices like, “Yes, I’m going to put MnM’s in my porridge”, and “I‘m going to carry a mini bottle of red to celebrate”.
There are some not so glamorous parts, such as the tan lines I now have on my knees from tape, and putting all used toilet paper in a ziplock bag to carry out to the nearest trash can, but the pros outweigh the cons. Big time.

Another view, just because:

Heading down this side of Mt San Jacinto gave me some cell service again, and I got to have a quick FaceTime with the lovely Bek Watkins! See? Dream life!
I’m not sure I’ll get over being able to wander through this land with no real responsibilities beyond myself, and at the same time get to chat with dear friends and fam ❤️

We’re in the US (obviously), so miles are the big deal here. And we’ve finished 200 of them so far!

And theeeen, Khaleesi tripped on a rock. In a way, it was good timing – we’d all grouped together for our photo of the 200mi marker, so we were all together to snap into action.
Brad whipped out his umbrella, I got out extra sunscreen (we were all sitting in the sun there), Vick’s (to stop bruising on her knees), and a fan, Dario took off her shoe to inspect the damage and tape up her ankle, and Speedy took a few photos.
We’ve got a pretty good crew going here.

As we slowly continued and split off at our own pace, I got to call home and speak to my fam back in Sydney. Dad did some research for me on merino thermals and good deals (thank you!), and it just felt so bizarre again to be walking this walk and still have touch with a completely different reality on the other end of the line.

The walk continued.

Down.

Always down.

Every now and again, one of those switchbacks would give a good view of the monster we were still making our way down from. These pictures do not do it justice.

If we think in Australian terms, Mt Kosciusko is 7,300ft high. So it took me fourteen hours to climb down the height of that, plus 2,300 extra feet.

The valley floor met us eventually, and after filling our water, and setting up our tents, we pretty much collapsed.

Brad had a genius idea of trying to see if we could get someone to drop us burgers from the nearby In-n-Out. Fries and shakes and burgers sounded good. We sent out a few feelers, but didn’t get many nibbles, so made do with mashed potato and ramen (again) – which actually taste amazing.
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look in a pantry and find an excuse not to eat something if I’m hungry. If I’m hungry enough, most anything tastes good.

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3 thoughts on “Day Fifteen: 301.8 – 331.1km

  1. Mumma Kay says:

    You did it !
    Well done. Another mission accomplished.
    Dad & I are very proud of you. Proud too that you look out for others and care for them.
    It’s great you have connected with some wonderful friends.
    Love all the beautiful photos too.
    Blessed to be a blessing! Xxxx

    Like

  2. bronty says:

    Wow 😳😳
    That is MASSIVE!!!
    How did your knees hold up on the decent? They are obviously getting used to it!
    The views are crazy – spectacular!
    It’s so great that you’ve got such a good group of friends there too! Love how you all look out for one an another xxx

    You are doing GREAT!

    Love you xxxx

    Like

    • Naomi Joy says:

      They survived! I think my body is getting stronger and more resilient (and just accepting that this isn’t going to stop any time soon 😉).
      Very lucky to have some great people around me out here ❤️ Makes a world of difference.
      Thank you for the endless encouragement! x

      Like

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