Day 27: Mile 454.5 (Agua Dulce) to Mile 465.6
I was extremely homesick for the first time on the trail. I didn’t really feel like hiking, so the first camping area I came to, I set up. I was alone, which didn’t help the homesickness. There were bugs all around my tent, bugs in my tent, bugs on my food… I suppose the bugs kept me company that night. The sauce to my pasta didn’t thicken, so I had runny pasta and summer sausage. I am a grown woman, who really missed her mother, and her mother’s cooking, that evening. That’s not all I missed.
I also missed being clean. I had just had a shower the day prior; however, I sat on a rock, waiting for my water to boil, and looked at my dirt covered legs with disgust, quickly hiding my fingernails from myself, after seeing how unclean they were; not to mention, the sun blisters covering my knuckles made my stomach uneasy. As I took off my shoes and dirt covered socks, I looked down at the grown out and chipped toe nail polish on my battered and bruised toes, the toes that lost their nails, and the new blister which was forming. I knew that the disgust and homesickness would fade in time; I simply had to wait it out. I didn’t have a bad day, so I really can’t explain what brought on these feelings.
As my mind continued to feel sorry for myself, I soon realized something quite heartbreaking. There I was, disgusted at the coat of dirt which covered my skin and the layer of God knows what, beneath my fingernails. I realized that there are millions of people, less fortunate than I, who live in worse conditions, not by choice, with skin that never gets to be washed clean, fingernails that will forever be dirty. There I was, wishing I was still clean from the shower I had taken, the day prior, when there are children in other countries who might not ever know what a shower feels like. Countless people go to bed hungry, day after day, and there I was, ungrateful for runny pasta and salami. I chose this life of trail homelessness; the millions of forgotten people living without a home don’t necessarily get a choice. I didn’t only feel ungrateful for the reasons listed above, but for taking any moment on the trail for granted.
I know a lot of people would love to be in my shoes, hiking the PCT, but are unable to, for a multitude of reasons. I have to keep telling myself that on the bad days. I am lucky to have had this opportunity; I am thankful I am healthy and strong enough to have gotten this far; each minute I am out here is a blessing. Be grateful for every moment on the trail. Be grateful for the amazing times, the tough times, the laughs, the cries, the lessons learned and the friends made on the trail. Live in the moment, not what was or what will be.
Climbing thousands of feet, in what feels like 120 degree heat, just to go back down again. The exposed skin on my body, being burnt to a crisp by the sun. The sweat running down my face, around my eye and down my cheek. My body being soaked with sweat, yet being freezing anytime I stop for a break.
Day 28 : Mile 465.6 to Mile 478.2 – Casa De Luna
I finally got moving around 9am. The trek wasn’t terrible today, but nothing too escorting as far as scenery goes. There was quite a bit of shaded areas to be lazy under today. I was only planning on going to Casa De Luna, so I wasn’t in a hurry.
Casa De Luna is known to hand out class bandanas when you arrive, so of course, I had to make a stop there. I decided to also take the rest of the afternoon off, since the wonderful trail angels at Casa De Luna make dinner and breakfast for you. This wasn’t the only reason I decided to take the afternoon off.
For the last couple of days, my body just wasn’t feeling 100 percent. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but this was my theory…
When I started the PCT, I had a little extra fat on my bones. After walking and walking, I lost 13 lbs in the first 20 days on the trail, and my caloric intake is just not enough to make up for the rapid weight loss and amount of calories I am burning. The first few weeks on the trail, I would only become hungry at lunchtime. Now, my body screams for food every 2 hours. Trust me, I am eating a ton of calories, but still losing weight. Im starting to buy more fattening, high calorie foods instead of the lower calorie protein bars I had been eating. I’m eating 2-3 ramen packets a night, instead of only one now. A snack during the day, consists of more than 1,000 calories. It’s amazing how much I am consuming.
With all of that being said, I contributed my lack of energy and not feeling myself for several days, to my caloric intake not equaling calories burned. I was hoping I could figure something out, so I could get back up to my 20-30 mile days.
Casa De Luna, “a place where we can all be insane at the same time”, was yet another unique PCT experience that I encourage all the future hiker trash to experience!
Casa De Luna is the home of Terrie and Joe Anderson. When I walked up to their home, Terrie greeted me with the best hug ever. I was taken to a clothes rack before going any further. The clothes rack held a wide variety of colorful Hawaiian shirts. I was highly encouraged to pick one out and put it on, if I wanted to eat dinner! Ha! Terrie explained that it is easier to relax, forget about the aches and pains, and enjoy a mini vacation when we are all wearing a Hawaiian shirt. It is the little things in life, it really is. As I picked out my black and bright green Hawaiian shirt, not only did it bring a smile to my face, but also oddly, filled my entire body with joy. Unfortunately, as soon as it got a bit chilly outside, the Hawaiian shirts were soon covered by the all too well known, puffy jackets! Casa De Luna was another one of the wonderful places along the PCT where people are reunited with old friends, and new friendships are formed. I ran into all of the friends I had been hiking with, which we had separated into separate groups since. It was so nice to see everyone together again.
After eating taco salad, which is provided for all the hikers, I went back to my tent, in what looks like an enchanted forest. There are plenty of semi private camping spots, which was so great!
After getting a wonderful night’s rest, I packed up and headed back to the house for delicious pancakes! What better way is there to start a big trekking day? Next stop, Tehachapi, and all of the miles in between! Stay tuned friends!