My pack is heavy. Heavy heavy. With seven days worthy of food and seven(ish) litres of water, up around the 25kg mark heavy.
I figured coming out of Tehachapi with the equivalent of a small human on my back mightn’t be the easiest, so I started hiking early and left Thibaud asleep.
The Mohave Desert might be a tough one to cross (by foot), but it did set some high standards for beauty.
Even just in the first eight miles, I climbed up and down undulating hills. I watched the sun come up over the horizon to throw yellow and orange highlights across the blue sky. I had breakfast on a bench atop a mountain surrounded by lavender bushes with a killer view.
It was the best way to start a day.
Have you read/seen/heard about Wild? Crossing the highway, I finally reached the point where Cheryl Strayed began her hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. So many people think that she walked most of the track, when in fact, she only did around 1,000 miles. ‘Only’ 1,000 miles… Go girl.
They’re not easy miles.
I couldn’t imagine starting out here with so much food, so much water, and zero experience.
I feel like I have zero experience as it is, and I’ve had seven WEEKS of this!
Anyway, it’s pretty cool to recognise some of the places she writes about.
I knew I wouldn’t want to hike too far – there’s no point in pushing and straining my foot/the rest of my body early on. Better to ease into it and get back a rhythm that I can build up than jump in all gung-ho and hurt myself.
And with all the hills, the desert heat, this pack… Yeah. Not too many miles.
At least there were clouds! I don’t think I’ve ever loved cloud cover so much! In the back of my mind, I did think about the possibility of rain and how horrible that would be out here, but these were just beautiful fluffy white puffs of shade ❤️
Thibaud eventually caught up and overtook me as I enjoyed the day and kept not straining. And then he stopped, and I overtook him. And then I stopped, and we just kept hopping back and forth – which was a fun mix up from spending a whole day doing my best to cover the same mileage as Speedy.
Although, he wouldn’t let me cut switchbacks. Even with a fairly obvious trail that nicely wiped off a big curve of a hill, he was like a conscious I didn’t want.
It did make me laugh, though.
We only did fifteen miles.
It was glorious.
There was a perfect tree with some nice flat sand underneath that we spotted and took advantage of. I haven’t enjoyed setting up camp (aka. rolling out a groundsheet and blowing up my mattress) in the daylight in I don’t know how long. Since week one, maybe??
This felt like the biggest treat: to have stretched properly, cleaned off, be in our sleeping bags, enjoying some wine and eating dinner by 6PM.
We saved a fly from the wine.
We read our books.
We shared some chocolate, and drifted off very content after one of my new favourite days.