Learning all over again just how much of a fight it is to intentionally be happy. Granted, most of the day, I was fine.
I got up early, managed to retrieve my dry undies from last night’s ‘clothes line’ without drawing any more blood from that vicious tree, and set off quietly into the early morning.
Our day was starting with a mammoth climb (as do most days on this stretch, it feels like), so I wanted to get onto it early.
It took me nearly two hours of hard climbing to reach the top, and that was just the beginning of the day. I took a pretty long brekky to recover and get some feeling back into my legs, and T was surprised when he caught up… It was a long brekky.
I probably shouldn’t have sat around for so long, because the temperature ramped up dramatically. Lunchtime was determined as soon as I found a patch of shade big enough to nap under: off to the far right, the only tree I saw for miles.
I kept rocking this good mood as I walked, and the sun slowly made it’s way from over my right shoulder to my left.
But the miles did wear me down. The sun beat into me and sapped energy, as did the ascents and descents that never seemed to relent.
I wanted to stop; we’d already done a massive 30km+ day with ups and downs, but maybe I’m getting too used to Thibaud’s ‘listen to your body’ philosophy and giving in too early..
Because if we weren’t starting to run out of food, I would have stopped. But the reality was that I’d probably snacked a little too much in those first few days from Tehachapi, and now we had to do some bigger miles to make up the difference and reach Kennedy Meadows.
I just didn’t want a bar of it.
I was tired by the evening.
It’s not an excuse, but I didn’t control my emotions as much as I’d like to admit… On the inside, I was having a tantrum. A full blown, stamp my foot on the floor tantrum. I knew Thibaud was right when he said we had to do one more climb and at least stay at the top of the next pass, but I didn’t go willingly.
Look at how long this shadow is!
The sun is setting. I’ve been walking since before it even touched the sky this morning.
I don’t want to keep going.
So he went on ahead. Probably a good idea, because I wanted to smack him one – just for being right. Gotta love the justifications I can come up with to be in a foul mood sometimes 😂
Very begrudgingly, I kept going, and ran into two fellas on the side of the road.
They introduced themselves as Pickleback and Jefe, and passed me a can of Coke as I complained about having to go further.
They were sitting exactly where I needed them most.
And said exactly what I needed to hear.
Those two guys turned my evening around.
They championed me on, encouraging and cheering me for already having done 35km. They told me how strong I am and how great of an effort that was! If I was able to go further, that’s even more impressive. They made some small talk and told me I could absolutely do this. They reminded me it’s a beautiful night, my legs and feet have got me this far, and even if I go slowly, I can get there no worries. It’s a massive accomplishment. I’m fierce. I’m capable. Go girl.
They were kind and funny and I’ll be glad to see them again.
And that big orange box on the back of Jefe’s pack is a pizza. A full, untouched pizza, because his girlfriend wanted one. She kept walking, he went to town and got the pizza, and will catch her tomorrow to share it.
Told you they’re good guys.
He’d stopped a mile before we’d agreed on, due to my, “Don’t tell me what to do!” outburst when he last saw me a few hours prior.
He thought he was doing me a kindness in setting up camp earlier than we agreed – but that 1.5km difference meant our day was cut juuuust short of a marathon. So maybe I should say, lucky Thibaud. Lucky that Pickleback and Jefe had jolted me back into a good mood and I was able to not have a fit for missing out on a marathon day 😉
Plenty more days left to fit another one in down the trail.