My feet are warriors. My legs beasts of burden. My core is a rock. My back, full of knots. I am seven miles away from my goal: 30 miles in a day. I floating on a dream. I am tougher than a pine nut and then some. I am bragging (can’t I if I am bubbling over with wondrous pride of this body I have?!).
Today began at 3am.
“Pine Nut, it is time to hike!” Rainbow Dash said gleefully.
I was instantly awake. I was ready!
Last night I had cowboy camped for the first time in my life (although, to be honest, the bivvy is hardly different in dry environments), and I looked up at the Milky Way, all stretched out across the big sky in this lonesome prairie.
We climbed up on the LA aqueduct and found ourselves flying over the flat, pitch black surface. For the first few miles, the aqueduct was open (all the better for poisoning, my dear). When we stopped, we could hear the great big river lapping against the walls of its cage, begging to get out.
After getting lost, wandering winding streets in the dark, and stumbling upon a whole herd of hikers who I had yelled “please walk or don’t talk!” at in the night, the sun came up. It was brilliant and red, rising with streaming confidence over the backs of the black mountains. We wondered at the legions of joshua trees that where silhouetted by its well trodden path through the sky.
We walked and walked on dry, dusty roads by dilapidated trailers all pushing up one on another in the middle of the biggest space you could imagine. We walked through empty desert filled with the wild withered trees and heat that hardened the lines of everything in sight. It was 9.30am and we were soaked with sweat.
We have arrived in the desert.
We walked and walked through a whole field of sky high windmills, along twisting roads being overrun with fast white trucks, dirt flying. We met the manager of those tall spinning guards, stoically protecting the mountains, and a construction crew working on the trail. They were AmeriCorps members, and a slender one with beautiful blonde dreads gave us a fist bump.
“Did you get our ice cream order?” They joked.
And then, 23 miles in (nearly passing my biggest day previously), we came to a sweet little stream. I first took off my shoes and sunk my feet into the mud. Delicious. Then I ate, filtered water (major love to my lightening fast Platypus Gravity Filter), and lay down.
Seven miles to go. Seven miles until victory.
30 glorious miles done, 12 hours hiked, 4,000 feet of elevation climbed all at the end, 4 liters guzzled, 4,000+ calories consumed, 3am wake up, 9.30pm bedtime. All those numbers can’t tell the bone deep buzz of glee I feel. They were miles well earned, a goal well achieved.
And now, dear friends, a long, happy sleep awaits. If only I could feel such dazzle at every day’s end. What a dream! What a new goal…