Wowzas – one month and 450 miles. It’s pretty amazing to believe. When I look back I feel like the one month has flown by, and yet, on a daily basis when I wake up, the days blur and the incredible miles I still have to cover weigh down on me. The crazy emotional ups and downs seem significantly higher and lower and more frequent than what I experienced cycling Canada. I sum that up completely to not having Adam with me. I miss him and Shasta desperately and more intensely than I could have imagined. I mentioned in my last post how towns seem to be a weakness for me: it’s where his absence is most acute. However, in the mornings when I wake up in my tent, I think about how I have to, again, pack up and get moving. It’s the second part of this thought that actually does get me moving, though. I know that if I stay lazing in my cozy, warm cocoon, it will simply take that much longer before getting home.
And so I pack up. I may or may not make a hot breakfast and beverage (it completely depends on the day) but I always shoulder my pack and start walking (hopefully around 7am)…and then I feel great and that sadness I had simply dissipates with each step. Of course I still miss Adam and Shasta but when I start walking I’m reminded of why I wanted to come out here: to see and experience something incredible, on my own. I’m fully confident in the fact that I am capable of doing something of this magnitude – solo – but to actually experience it means more to me than I can fully explain…perhaps because I don’t quite know myself.
What I do know is that Southern California has been so amazing and beyond what I could have imagined! I never knew of the utter beauty that existed down here. I’m actually very thankful this area has not been what I had expected: basic, open, flat, hot desert (that part is coming up next!). It’s been mountainous and varied and, sure, there has been many exposed and hot sections but, overall, there has been significantly more shade and gorgeous terrain than I had thought.
That being said, I’m ready for a change. I’ve been down here for four weeks and am becoming weary of the desert. It’s very common for people to feel tired here. Do you know how big California actually is? It’s massive! As in, the halfway mark of the trail (about 1300 miles) is still in California. It’s a huge mental game, this state is! So those little celebrations are really important (I’ve just completely Section D!). Next up is the “real” desert: the Mojave region. In the next 2-ish weeks, I’ll have 2 very large waterless stretches (36 and 42 miles). I’ll be dealing with that primarily through night hiking to help reduce the amount of water I’ll need to consume. I’m guessing I’ll carry 9 litres of water (in comparison, many people plan on only carrying 6). Additionally, my mom has made the trip out from Ontario to help support me. I’m hoping she can help me out with at least that first stretch, whether she can cut it down a bit or provide some relief at the end I’m unsure (still looking at maps). And then, after I cover the next 250 miles, I’ll be entering *drumroll, please* the Sierra Nevada mountain range!! Woot-woot!! Any boredom or weariness will be gone then!
I’m now taking a much needed rest. Over the last few days my body has been silently pleading with me (most notably through refusing to allow my eyes to open before 6am) and, more recently, not so silently informing me it’s time for a rest (a very achy knee coming into Acton resulting in me taking my first ibuprofen of the trip!).
So Mom and I are off to do some Hollywood-esque things: tour Warner Bros Studio and go to the beach! And then I’m back to the trail to lay down some miles!