This is the first night on the trail where I really don’t feel like writing this blog. I wasn’t in a great headspace when we started walking early this morning at 6am but it wasn’t until around 7am that I realised that UB was in a far worse headspace than me.
I’ve learned a lot about UB over these last 600 miles, but today I think he opened up on a whole new level about events that have happened in his life and some parts honestly disturbed and enraged me so much that as we hiked on I honestly lost all of my energy to even put one foot in front of the other.
We walked about 4 miles before stopping to make breakfast, then another couple before I needed to stop to put on my hat and sunscreen because the heat suddenly returned in force, then again half an hour later where I actually fell asleep for a while. I felt a lot better after the quick power nap and a few snacks and took the lead for the 7 mile stretch into Walker Pass campground. We hoped there would be some water left there because we were running low and it didn’t seem we would make the 28 mile haul to the next source.
About three miles down the trail UB took the lead when I detoured around a fallen tree and this is when I realised his head space hadn’t improved despite the long counselling session. He threw his hiking poles in the air and when one landed on the trail he picked it up and threw it off the side of the mountain into the trees below. I won’t go into the cause of this sudden outburst as I know he will tell his own story on his blog one day, but a little bit further down the trail he pulled to the side so I could continue on ahead.
When I was in sight of the campground and could see what I hoped to be trail magic up ahead I sat in the shade and waited for UB to catch up so we could walk in together. When he reached me he was not good, and about ready to end his trail experience then and there. We talked for a while but my positive words and encouragement didn’t make much of a difference until we entered the campground to a round of applause from the other hikers sitting there in the shade enjoying food and beverages from the incredible trail angels present.
We were handed an ice cream sandwich, told to offload our packs and then sat down under cover to enjoy cold drinks and a table full of food. UB and I looked at one another in complete disbelief and I could tell that only human nature of this kind would be able to change his mind about the trail.
Once again I over indulged on cake, chips, beer, soda and then dinner of spaghetti, chicken, polenta and salad. I donated $20 but that didn’t even seem enough given the way this trail magic transformed our day from one of the darkest to something so positive. It’s 52 miles to Kennedy Meadows from here and the challenge was set to see if anyone could make it in 24 hours. There’s no way in the world I’d even attempt it but UB, Andrew, Phil and another dude are going to depart at 6am tomorrow and give it a shot. I’m going to try my best to make it in two days given my new heel blister and the heat over the next couple of days.
I’m in my sleeping bag with a terrible headache right now but I’m glad I got to write this all down. It’s been a long day but I honestly feel that hitting Kennedy Meadows will be a new beginning after the desert into the Sierras!