Day 22: A Second Wind

I woke up to the twinkling of the early morning sunshine through wrinkles in the curtains. I peeked out at the day, careful not to wake the strangers turned friends beside me I the room, and discover a beautiful day. It was 65 and sunny — walking weather for sure.

After picking up some coffee and talking on the phone outside the room, I packed up my things, wrapped up some toilet paper from the bathroom, and waited on the guys to carefully push things around in their packs.

We headed to Big Bear Lake from Big Bear City (two places, four miles apart, just to be confusing) and got heaping, hot portions of true Americana food at the Teddy Bear Cafe (not a single teddy bear included, much to my dismay — I was hoping for a Popovers situation, for those of you growing up on the Upper West Side). I packed up my four halves of buttered white bread in my napkin and was given two more my Nel, a terribly sweet hiker from England who loved the huge size of US breakfasts. I thought of my buttered bread, placed in my jersey, from Bike & Build, which was always heated perfectly by the sun. 

 I went to bum around the hostel in town, to bide my time while Rainbow Dash hiked the 14 miles I missed yesterday. I got a full resupply of five days straight from the hiker box (a box of stuff other thru hikers don’t want), and was thrilled! It offset the three meals I ate out in the 18 hour period I was in town — and I thought I was bad about eating out before!

Better still, I got a ride from two thru hikers I know with a car (I am still confused how they do it) to the outfitters. I picked up some snazzy colorblocked and stripped cold weather compression pants and massively large but light rain pants. No more cold legs for me! 

 Then I rearranged my food sack, wondering at all the free bounty, and waited for Rainbow Dash to appear. Which she did shortly. Then, with a stop at the local Dominos for some electricity and people gasoline (calories), we headed back to the trail.

The afternoon and early evening was delightful, mild with a cheerily warming sun. I danced down the trail, giddy with the beauty and flatness and friendship. 

 Yesterday I got an outpouring of love from friends and family, all of you sending such good vibes my way. I feel as if you were the ones that flipped my world right side, taking me from my spiral of fear and loneliness into a place where joy and purpose thrives. It seems as if the sheer force of the sweetness being thrown my way from across the country transformed the snow into a day filled with sunshine. Thank you endlessly.

It is a strange thing to go out into the woods to be apart, only to find that I am more “part of” than ever before. 

 But I suppose the good things in life are often paradoxes, and it is too often I discover (and, later, forget) that through the darkness is the fastest way to the light.

Earlier a woman came and talked to Rainbow and I about the trail. She told us her family was missing for four years, only to be found buried in these mountains. She then told us about her friend who bought oranges from kids on the street, too many to eat, and soon found a group of thru hikers passing through who were overjoyed about the bounty. She was lovely, reminding us that while there is horror beyond my feeble imagination in this world, there is good too.

Today, with my new pants on (I have three layers now!), I am warm and bubbling with happiness in my bivvy. And all is right in the world.