I was wondering when the trail would start feeling real and I would start to getting emotional. Well, today was that day. Today, Jenny and I parted ways. I packed out super early in the morning and we said our goodbyes. She was going to catch a flight back to Seattle, and I continued on the trail north to my next water source. As I headed out in the dark by moonlight by myself, I could not hold back my tears. I was officially doing this on my own and my best friend who had started this journey with me would not be there with me anymore. We could no longer laugh together at our jokes or take siestas under a tree. I don't usually wear my heart on my sleeve but sometimes it's hard to express what I really feel in the moment.
Thank you so much again for coming out to hike out the first 20 with me. It meant so much to me that you would take time out of your busy work week to send me off. I know how insane Pack Animal is right now. It felt so weird to say goodbye to you this morning. As I hiked out this, I was just so thankful for our friendship. We have known each other since we were first newbs in Seattle and have been good friends since. We've gone through so much and have some of the best memories together. You can always make me laugh even when I am discouraged. Even though we are so different, we seem to balance each other well. You're always giving me so much grace even when I'm at my worst. One of the best gifts you could've given to me was taking this trip out with me. I feel like you truly got to experience a taste of what thru-hiking is all about. I am so proud that you did your first 20 mile thru-hike. 10 miles a day is not easy, and you did it just for me. Even though I always over prepare, I always know you can pretty much do anything you set your heart to. I just want you know how grateful I am that we got to start together and that you were able to live out one of my passions with me. One day I hope to do a moto thing for you someday. I love you so much and will miss you this summer! I hope this doesn't sound like a love letter but I just want you to know how I appreciative I am of you! I don't think my life would be the same without you. I bet thru-hiking has already broken your heart as you're back in the city life, so I'm really hoping to see you out here soon again!
I had so many emotions running through my head this morning. I started talking to God and just praised him for everything in my life that has led up to this point. I was shedding more tears of joy and just overwhelmed with what was actually about to happen. I was only on day 3, and everything has been so wonderful. I was thinking that the thing I've been waiting for so long was finally here: I will be camping every night and hiking out each day. Nothing made me happier. My legs felt so good doing the miles and somehow my pain only happens 25% of the day. I watched the sky turn pink at sunrise as I climbed higher and higher over Southern California. The first person I saw this morning was a man named Dave who came up behind me. He asked if I had yellow crocs and sure enough, he had my other shoe that I didn't even know I had dropped! I would've been so sad to lose them; I've had them since high school. What a sweet hiker to pick it up for me and carry extra weight!
I continued to hike the rest of the day by myself. It was super strange to siesta alone and nobody to talk to. I barely saw anyone the whole day. I crossed so many different terrains though. From desert, to talk grass (tick central), highway crossings, red rocks and ridges. It became pretty exposed for the rest of my hike and I reached the campground at mile 32.6. I did a 12 mile day and felt pretty done. The campground ended up being almost a mile all downhill off trail. I couldn't stop imagining having to walk all the way back up to get back on trail. When I arrived, the place was dead. I barely saw any hikers and ended up taking a siesta on a picnic table. I was so exhausted my eyes could barely stay open.
Some hikers started filtering in but they wanted to go a bit more in for the night. I was a little worried I should go further since we all know the ten miles to Mt. Laguna is all uphill, but I just wanted to chill. I was in no rush and have been enjoying these early morning starts and just resting early when I get to my stopping point. Late afternoon, some very exhausted hikers came in and decided to camp all together. I met a friendly couple named Charlie and Tracy from Alabama who have been taking it chill and have had the best time so far. I love that people decide to thru-hike no matter what stage in life they are at and don't need the best ultralight gear to have a great time.
Our camp tonight gathered several international travelers. A couple from Switzerland and a gal from Poland. The women actually out numbered the men tonight! It's a very rare case. I am going to bed early tonight. I want to make my bed time at around 7p each night. I don't want to set an alarm anymore and will just rely on my natural body clock. I am definitely the super early morning hiker. I kind of feel like I was born to thru-hike.
As I lay in my tent tonight, surrounded by squashed dead ants, I don't feel super dirty. At each water source, I've been able to wipe down and keep pretty clean. I feel like there's probably a bunch of more bugs all in my backpack that I don't know about. I'm still scared of bugs.