18 km

Today was long. But so so happy.

We got up at 5, but the kept snoozing until 5:30. We skipped breakfast and the tent was soaked (can it still be soaked if the whole thing is iced?). We snacked as we started hiking and walked over the railroad tracks rather than passing under another small silly underpass. We climbed through a valley, over lumpy rocks and as I struggled to navigate rock climbing with my pack on we were quickly passed by a Swiss guy, his girlfriend, and his mom. Swiss folks are all goats, I swear.

We hiked a mountain called Mount Karbolet - somewhere you should Google. The rocks are in clear layers and all slanted at crazy angles. The trail is up and down all day, with some good climbs, and lots of walking with your ankles at a funny angle. It's really surreal, and doesn't really feel like earth at times. We kept pretty good pace throughout the dispersed climbs and stopped for a real breakfast around 9.

In the book, today is the hardest day - as stated by the author. He is very clear about being done before dark and where bail out points are earlier in the day. We kept track of our pace, and when we passed the halfway point we both felt better about time. We took some pictures at the observation point but continued on to the top of the highest summit where we took another break. We ate and took in the view, got passed by the Swiss (who we played leap frog with all day) and took a photo for a couple headed the other way. After a few more ups and downs we began the final descent. The last 4km of trail are flat and easy, but the 4km before that are more swirly rocks that involve climbing and navigation and metal rungs and so on. The landscape could give you vertigo. It's crazy. We took a break in the sun and ate skittles while I attempted to tan my stomach, because my shorts tan is going strong. The last 1km of tough terrain took us 45 minutes or so. Very slow. Anyways, I don't know how else to explain it, and I'm sure photos won't do it justice. Also my body held up well despite all the side hill action and weird rocks and giant steps! Once we were through the tuff stuff we stopped in the sun for an hour since we were so early and read. Sometimes I think I drive Russ nuts because all morning I was anxious about the time and we were done by 3pm. It doesn't even get dusky until 5 or so. Somehow that moment with just us, sprawled out in the dirt as Infinite Jest floats through the air is perfection. It takes me back to the early PCT days when we were just getting to know each other. Russ reading makes me happy. Russ makes me happy.

Anyways we read Infinite Jest for a while then finished the last hour to camp. I set things up while Russ found our cached water. We both crushed dinner and had to make some of the extra lentils for round 2. Hard day calls for two dinners.

Today was such a good day. I didn't think once about my future, or the job search or any of that. It was me in the moment, with the rocks and the sun and my beat up Altras all day. Ugh. I'm a happy little bee when I have days like today. It makes me never want to stop hiking. Days like today make me grateful. I'm not sure how much of this is endorphins from a good hike today but man. I think this feeling is true happiness.

 

PS - I got these weird sun bumps when I did NOLS back in the day. One left a scar on my right ring finger, and now it's all red and puffy. Kinda sketchy. I'm putting sunscreen on my hands often but I'm def keeping an eye on it.

ALSO THE STARS ARE SURREAL. Whoa. If you haven't star gazed recently go do it!

 

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