I knew I wanted to cover more ground today.
Not only for the sake of miles, but for the sake of weather and water. It would be hot, and there were two long carries. I planned accordingly and woke up, packed up, and walked out before the sun rose.
Watching the sun rise does not get any less spectacular or special with each new one I get to witness.
The second day of summer here (and of winter, back home), it started off cool. I wore my thermals, and dreamt about the warmer version I had waiting for me just another couple days ahead, at Agua Dulce.
My heart warmed up as I walked through the sparse pine forest with a rising sun on my right, and messages from friends that came through with the intermittent cell service.
Only a few short hours later, I was wishing for the need for thermals again. I had reached the fire station with a ‘hiker hose’ out the back, and stocked up on water for the rest of the day: a 30km stretch.
Starting up a shadeless hill, with temperature already pushing 30’C at 10AM and no sunscreen was a recipe for disaster. My mantra was, “This will not break me. This will not break me.” But in honesty, I wasn’t sure if that was true.
Having already had a melanoma and several bad moles removed over the years, protection from the sun was a priority that I had to get creative with.
So to whoever put that creativity in my gene pool, thank you.
I pulled out my rain jacket.
There are ironies I face daily, and this was one of them: the first time I used my rain jacket was as shelter from the sun.
It doubled as a walking sauna, so I just hoped that I was releasing toxins with the sweat running down my neck, shoulders, back, arms, and did my best to ration out water. Extra sweat = extra water loss.
Even early on, I knew I couldn’t continue like this forever, and messaged Rebekah (my youngest sister). She seems to get answers to her prayers like no one else I know, so she’s often my go-to gal for when I need quick answers too*: I asked her to pray for shade for me.
Once again, her friendship with God came through:
There were still long stretches without shade, but I made do, and the jacket and knowing Bek was praying for me helped my spirits as I embraced the day and all it still had to offer.
Today’s theme was shade. Needing to stop for lunch, I scurried into whatever shade I could find – this little spot tucked into the hillside, hoping it wasn’t poison oak I was leaning up against.
There was a rumour I’d heard a couple days back: the ranger who lived at the campground I was aiming for gave free hotdogs and sodas to all hikers.
The thought of that can of Coke after today kept me going.
By the time I would reach the ranger station, chances were he’d have packed up and gone to bed. I had my heart set on that Coke though, and asked a couple of fellas to save me one if there were any there.
I didn’t beat any speed records.
I had another blood nose, a call to Mum and Dad, and not much juice left in my tank, but I plodded along and got there eventually.
Arrived to a big, “Congratulations! You made it!” and this beautiful sight:
I’ve never craved Coke so much in my life. Or chocolate shakes. Or instant mashed potatoes – weird that I eat them almost every day and still crave more!
This one hit the spot.
Thank you Jesus, thank you Rebekah, thank you ranger man, thank you Rabbit and Outback.
*I started a small prayer thread to throw out requests when they arise. I know there are so many people already praying for me and even just sending good vibes and love – but if you want to be added in, shoot me a message on Facebook, Instagram or in the comments below. x