From Walker Pass 8.3 miles to the Owens Peak Mount Jenkens saddle is the only stretch of the PCT I had previously hiked. There are a few vivid memories from that day. Coming on a saddle, just before crossing to the east side of the ridge for a view of town, I noticed a small dirt flat spot of dirt with a stone fire ring. “How weird someone camped up here.” Something to that effect were my thoughts. We woke up on that spot this morning. The sun was a particularly orange ball rising just above Telescope peak and the rim surrounding Death Valley; just under a hundred miles to the north east.
No details really stand out anymore. Lots of trees, flowers, mountains, valleys, streams, and trail. All these things are seen, processed, appreciated sometimes, and sometimes simply noted. None really merit describing at the end of the day. Not to say I don’t love being out here. The experience, at least on that visceral and direct level is just that, experience. There is no means for me to make a literal description of it. Well, there is of coarse; yet, the quantity of such natural elements is so overwhelming that a complete description of a single days views, smells and sounds would occupy hundreds of pages. Waking up I exclaimed, “Oh man, I can’t believe its Monday again.” We both laughed for it is completely irrelevant what day it is anymore. Its a day. We will pack up quick and start walking. At the end when, the shadows are long, we will be tired of walking but most likely have a couple of miles left. No sense in complaining about sore shoulders or feet rubbed raw. The only way to get to the place where you will lay your head is to walk. The miles will pass, maybe slow; but, they will pass. Time and distance always pass.
We tried to remember where we were last Monday. It initially seemed like an impossible exercise. The four biggest idiot we ever met, we remembered, were out on a Sunday, Mothers Day. So, Monday, last Monday, we were walking strait across the wind torn desert, sitting in a destroyed blue bus, and fishing water out of small access hole to L.A.’s artery. It doesn’t seem like that long ago until considering all the stuff we have walked through since then. Well over a hundred miles. It is truly incredible how much space you cover if daily, tenaciously, you set out to walk twenty miles.
I thought about our first day and getting dropped off at the border. We were looking to the future, looking at the horizon, waiting for an adventure, waiting for our whiskers to grow. We were very different people then. Now we are in the middle. There in a past, present, and future to this lifestyle. Our days can, at times, be called routine. Yet, we are much more in harmony with the outdoors and the walking life than I ever imagined being able to be. Tomorrow we hit Kennedy Meadows for a ride down into the valley. Six days at Mom’s. Being indoors will be a significant change. I, for one, welcome the opportunity to see Siri and Mom and Jay her boyfriend and to rest. For the two hundred miles north from Kennedy Meadows our ice axes are going to do a lot more that dig holes for us to shit in. The mountains are getting big. Conditions will be much more serious. We are ready.