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Day 23.... defeated... thoughts of quitting... an angel... and Charlie...

Day 23.... defeated... thoughts of quitting... an angel... and Charlie...

a_ourso Apr 4th, 2021
a_ourso's 2021 PCT Thru-Hike

Mile 233.8 to Mile 250.3....

I woke up at 7:45 to the evil bright burning disk in the sky.... already off to a bad start. I only had a half liter of water left on me... and a mile and some change to the next water source... I was thirsty... probably still dehydrated from the day before... I rolled over and reluctantly grabbed my clothes... they were crunchy - all of them - my shorts, socks and shirt felt like stiff (and smelly) cardboard from the salt soaking in the day before... not exactly inviting... I packed up and set my mind to a plan... I was going to make it to mile 250... even if I had to stop and night hike to there... that would leave me with 16 miles on Monday to the exit I had planned to take into Big Bear to be able to catch Spirit before he went back on trail...

It was hot (again)... there were giant trees down over the trail (again) and I was covered in new scratches and dirt (again) shady spots by the creek were inviting places of respite... from what had over two days switched from being a trail I loved to an unforgiving beast...

It was 1:30pm... I had only done 5 miles... and my phone started beeping... a cell signal for the first time in two days.... I searched through an array of happy Easter texts to our tramily group text... Scout and Warp Drive had reached Big Bear and headed back out today... I had assumed that would happen since they got back on trail after skipping the snow section while we were all zeroing in Redlands... but there it was Spirit had made it to Big Bear Saturday night and was leaving Monday morning... I cursed him for doing 33 mile days through this mess and heat... my one answer to resolving my struggling had quickly disappeared... I sat on a log and for the first time thought about quitting the trail... I had felt off since Nike left... and nothing was coming easy anymore... I called Spirit almost in tears... and...

Spirit to the rescue.... he came up with a plan... if I could get to Mile 250.3 and walk down a dirt road to hwy 38 - he would find me a ride and I could have dinner, a bath and stay with him for the night.... a goal with a reward!!! I felt instantly energized and started hiking on a mission....

I swear the entire environment changed... a cool breeze became constant breaking up the feeling of being baked by the sun...(yeah I know it was because of the elevation change and the more abundant tree cover, but it still felt magical ;)).... my trail legs were back - 12 miles in 5 hours... heck yeah... the climbs were no longer feeling like endless mountains but more like tiny uphills.... I eventually hit snow and even then welcomed the challenge... it became the trail I was growing to love a week ago... my body felt strong like it had a week ago... josh groban belted out he will raise me up through my earphones ... followed on random shuffle by Eminem until I collapse.... it was a contrast fitting of the moment...

I belted out the last 4 miles (including an 800 gain in elevation and then 800 drop on elevation) in an hour... I’m back... my inner voice repeated to me in its best Schwarzenegger impersonation... I had estimated to Spirit I would be at the intersection meeting point at 8-8:30 pm... I made it by 7:10.... as I seriously at one point felt so good I contemplated texting him that I was going to push 16 more miles through the night for an over 30 days to reach my initial exit and just get to his room around 4am (maybe adrenaline makes me a little delirious).... I sat at the intersection of a dirt road and hwy 38 as cars whizzed by... leaned against a street sign... shivering in the night as the cold air and my sweat became like air conditioning - and closed my eyes reflecting on how one little change in mindset can change the course of the past few days.

After the trail angel picked me up, with Spirit in tow, we got some dinner. I talked about the mental downs of the past few days (which is hard for me... feeling talk and admitting to feeling like I was failing are not strengths of mine) and Spirit (the Zen Warrior) helped me see them in the light of day and work through each issue I was having. I texted Charlie that I had made it to Big Bear and Spirit’s weirdly kitschy hotel... and even after a long day of driving and sailing, he offered to come pick me up.....

I fell asleep, clean, in my own bed ready to tackle the trail with a plan and much better mindset for the next section... but for now I am going to spend two days at home... this time with no guests ... while I loved having my tramily with me in Redlands last week ... it was very hard for me to let go of the role and self-imposed expectation of being a hostess... I don’t think I got the mental rest I needed... I will head back out on Wednesday morning... hopefully more refreshed and positive... and Spirit took my car to surprise his daughter on her birthday in Santa Barbara... which means when he gets back out on Saturday with his big miles he will catch up to me at some point.... friends on trail are the best!

Side note: There is a lizard creature in picture 14 ... can you spot it???

Previous: Apr 3rd, 2021
Next: Apr 6th, 2021

Comments (2)


Debi Apr 6th, 2021

Keep on hiking.... You got this. Someone once told me "you are stronger than you think" I repeat that often to myself. Blessings!!


dblsplayer Apr 5th, 2021

A tough few days for sure. Hit the reset and you got this.


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