i am writing from a very old and struggling computer at the very rad hostel in south lake tahoe. i am stopping in to report that we are here: i made it through the sierras! now, on to northern california and the continuation of many many days of climbing unending hills (by the way the “crest” in pct means “long endless slog up hills”) and hopefully swimming in many lakes.
one day california will provide me with some decent internet and a way to download photos of the mind blowing mountain passes of the high sierra nevada, but that day is not today (despite two hours of effort trying to make it so). without the photos my story of so much deep happiness in the most beautiful of mountain playgrounds seems diminished, so i will wait for then to write much more. in summary, the pct continues to amaze, despite the occasional week or day of boredom or total fatigue. i have learned so much about myself, have found more peace than i have known before, and am so grateful for all of the amazing people i have met that feel like family whenever our walking lives cross paths. i love the slowness of human powered travel: love watching the rocks move from granite to metamorphic, love that i can now tell elevation by the variety of conifer tree species we are around. I love that the highlight of my day might be watching a golden hawk crest high on a warm draft of wind or that it might come with the jolt out of hiking meditative state as we begin the daily “ideas” debate ghislain and i have taken up to pass the time. in the rare moments we are not walking as hard and fast as we can, he has been fishing with his new tenkara set-up and i have been eating fresh trout and swimming naked in cold lakes. As i check off mountain pass after mountain pass, these small things feel meaningful and good.
in other news, my thighs are huge from all the rocks and hills…i could probably crush a marmot with them, but i would never do such a thing because seeing marmots makes me break into a deep pile of mush and good cheer. (the sierra marmots are particularly fat due to the lack of any living predator, so basically the last few hundred miles have been wonderful even when my ankles kept turning and my toes cracked from my crap shoes and being wet from water crossings all of the time).
im onto a new stage of my hike this week that i originally anticipated starting at the beginning: solo time. ghis is leaving and i need to not worry about being eaten by a cougar while sleeping alone. thank goodness for my now-trusty hexamid tent! cowboy camping is not for me. i like a wall between me and the wild things, however metaphorical that wall may be.
while it will be strange to pick up a new routine this deep into this experience of attempting a thru-hike, i am looking forward to the challenge. here is to rising early, walking long and slow, and making it to canada despite it seeming very, very far away. i need to average 22 miles a day now if i allocate a reasonable amount of town and rest, so i feel the urge to go and cruise. it seems attainable now as 22 passes quick and 24 feels smooth, but still-whew. wish me luck! i will check in as soon as i can get some photos up to tell more stories of hiking muir pass at orange sunset to sleep at 12,500 feet; of glissading down 2000 feet without losing my shit, of the calm of walking waist deep in lupins and the ever present wooly sunflower. of somehow, just from placing one foot all gentle-like in front of the other, making it to here.
elizabeth (dirt squirrel)