I suffered from painful heartburn all night long and couldn’t sleep. It was a terrible combination of pain and nausea that must have stemmed from the town food I had eaten. Why did real food hurt me so much?? At least I was alone. I got up at 6:45 and my intestines immediately acted up. I still felt the remnants of heartburn in my chest. For breakfast, I ate poptarts so I didn’t have to use any water to dissolve my powdered milk.
By 7:40, I was all packed up and on the trail again.
A few miles later, I saw SunDog and Giggles. They told me that the trail was very crowded with people behind us! They wanted to stay at the Sulphur Creek camping area, but there were too many people there by the time they arrived, so they had to walk several additional miles before finding a place to camp. That news made me want to get moving quickly! I told Giggles that I liked her new hat and they joked about calling it the “chastity bonnet” because they couldn’t kiss as easily now. “Only on Sundays,” SundDog said. He was massaging Giggles’ shoulders because they were kinked from sleeping in a weird position. Someday, I hope to have a relationship like they have! I told them that I had a scheduled long distance reiki session at 9am that I was excited for and headed on. Around 8:55, I started looking for a place to sit down in the woods. I didn’t see many good options, but finally, I found a rock just off the trail next to a tree. Checka said we would spent a couple of minutes transitioning into the space, then I would practice being open to receiving as she sent me energy, and then we would close it off for the last minute or so. I sat facing away from the trail, as I knew SunDog and Giggles were about to pass by, and opened my palms to the sky. I could feel energy tingling in my hands, and the minutes quickly passed by.
The trail climbed out of the forest and out onto another ridge.
I could see a lake off to the left, well below the trail, which was too far off the PCT to get to. I ran into two older day hikers who were heading towards me. One of them said, “There are a lot of hikers ahead of you.” I wasn’t sure what to make of this. Of course, there were a lot of hikers ahead of me. There were even more behind me!! Then, the man said, “In about three and a half miles… you’re going to come to a road… ” “Yeah,” he said. That was it! I was going to come to a road? I had crossed plenty of roads by this point! Why was he saying this to me? If there was something meaningful at this road, like jugs of water or food, he could have said that, but that was all he had to say! Part of me thought that maybe they didn’t want to ruin a surprise for me, so I felt a bit hopeful!
I headed on, reaching the gravel road in less than three miles and then took a couple of minutes to look around. There was nothing there!
Later on, I ran into a woman walking her dog (carrying a tennis ball in its mouth) and then a grandmother and granddaughter who stopped to talk with me. The grandmother was amazed that I was hiking the trail alone and told me that her nine year old granddaughter wanted to do the same thing one day. She said that I was a good role model! “She’s training for it now,” she said as I walked away.
I walked until I saw a couple of hikers and several backpacks by a tree. I wondered if there was trail magic over there! It turned out that there was a spring 800 feet down a hill that SunDog and Giggles had stopped at. They took off just before I got there. An older man had just returned from collecting water, as well, and encouraged me to take the path down. “It’s nice and cold!”.
“But it’s too far away!” I said.
He told me he thought the same thing, but SunDog and Giggles had convinced him and now he was doubly convincing me! I told him I had enough water and headed on.
Not too long afterwards, I came to one of the best sources of water I had seen on the entire trail! It was flowing out of a copper pipe and was nice and cool. I was so glad that I had waited! I collected water and took my pack up to a bank along the trail. My stomach was still hurting and my intestines acted up again, so I had to quickly find a spot to take care of my problem. Then, I returned to filter my water and make another delicious ice coffee, which I enjoyed with a Snickers bar and a packet of almond butter as my afternoon energy boost. Four kids had come along in the meantime. They stopped to get water here, as well, but did not say hi to me. Then, faster than I could react, a cyclist came whizzing through, greeting the kids on his way past me. I was so stunned that I didn’t know what to do! Bicycles are not allowed on the PCT…
I collected more water and filtered enough so that I had my full capacity of three and a half liters to carry with me. This break had cost me 40 minutes of time! The older man approached just as I was getting ready to head out. He said his name was Rabbit Stix and asked me what mine was. “Wendy.”
“That’s what your mother calls you,” he said, somewhat annoyed.
“I don’t have a mother,” I responded. (Even when I technically did, she never spoke to me, and when she did many, many years ago, Wendy was not the name she most commonly used…).
He took out a little pad of paper and said he had to write my name down. He asked me if I was leapfrogging with SunDog and Giggles. I wasn’t sure what to say. I just am where I am….
As I walked away, I put in my new headphones and was so happy to be able to hear music so clearly with two ears! It helped get my energy going. I didn’t think anyone was around me so I sang along with several of the songs. While I walked, I could see Mt. Shasta, now from a different vantage point. It is quite an incredible mountain and I found it interesting that I had been able to see it for so many miles! I don’t think I’ve ever had an experience like that before. Although I felt very sick today, I could feel the freedom of being out here on the trail, and felt grateful for it. And although my pack was heavy with three and a half liters of water, I felt like I was moving well. The bugs weren’t as bad as they were yesterday, either.
I headed toward Deadfall Lake as the day turned to evening, stopping to give my shoulders a break at an intersection and making sure I knew which way the PCT went. I saw a blue marble under the tree and put it in my hipbelt pocket. A little ways ahead, I was happy to come across some running water in a little creek. I stopped to filter more water and eat a snack and headed out once again. In a meadow, I found Cookie and Runs with Elk setting up their tents. We said hello and I continued on, as I was not yet ready to stop for the night.
There weren’t any nice spots appearing as the sunlight faded, so I made due with what I could after looking around for awhile. Somehow, I ended up camping right next to some kind of dried animal poop. A deer came to visit while I ate my dinner and then ran off into the woods.