Day 23: As many days as are my years.
The psychological factors that come into play when walking these long distances are amazing. Yesterday, totally dead to the world, we hobbled into camp after an eternity of twenty one miles. Maybe it was the butter and no stick cooking spay laden oatmeal we ate after dinner last night that did it. Nevertheless, today was a different story. We did the first twelve miles right off the bat, hardly noticed ’em go by. I did some really heavy meditation in the next two miles. It takes a lot of practice but I can certainly notice improvement. Lately I catch little tiny flashes of what I can only describe as unbridled ecstasy and joy. It makes me wonder what it would be like stationary with my eyes closed and the benefit of full concentration. Dylan says its a different experience, more self involved. He said, actually, that he preferred doing it while walking, that its nicer to be involved with the world. I can see that definitely. The down side of this all was plopping down for the mid-day meal on an anthill. We have managed to do so at least six or seven times so far. Winding up eight miles later at the foot of Mt. Gleason, we were both shocked at the speed and effortlessness with wish we had traveled. Climbing its thousand feet was a very intense experience. I maintained a very fast pace and somehow never relented. My mind seemed somewhat detached from my body. Short bushes and shrubs begin to give way. Trees seemed a little mightier and light began to filter down through them. Signs of the top. Manic exhilaration of ignored exhaustion washed over me as the panorama of the dwindling San Gabriels laid out off the down slope. My animal was coming out. Dylan came up not more than a couple of minutes behind exclaiming, “Well I guess that’s all there is to Mt. Speed-bump.”
An early arrival at Messenger Flats allowed me to mend the holes in my gloves, attend to the blisters on my feet, and do some rare awake time rest. The book from John didn’t do much for me. I read about a page that one night. From then on it just took up space in my pack. Its probably still sitting of the picnic table back at Sulfur Springs waiting for a bored hiker. For now, I’d rather just spend my time absorbing.