Whereas the strong , powerful winds dominated the first days of section D, extremely hot desert temperatures permeated our bodies the second half. Mother Nature sharing some of those elements that make up her essence.
Poodle Dog Brush appeared in force. This poisonous plant seems to thrive in burn areas. Because this section was dominated by old burns, the trails were over run by Poodle Dog. A friend of ours shared photos of the rash he received from the dreaded dog . He hiked the PCT when it wasn’t a well known plant, not more than a very few years ago . The rash more painful. , more intense than any poison oak.
The mental and physical agony of trying to avoid the dog got quite overwhelming as in some areas the brush was so dense on the trail that you couldn’t be sure you were avoiding it. We actually did some road walk detours just to avoid the dog.
Because of the road walk around the Station Fire of a couple of years ago , that claimed too many fire fighters lives, we walked through an old prison that had been evacuated during the fire. The dog grew quite large and out of control in that area . It was quite frightening…and a little spooky. We camped a little below it.
The long road walk was contemplative.I walked alone and absorbed the intensity of the burn. Thinking a lot about life, about new growth , about how life is constantly in motion, constantly in a state of flux. The beautiful old growth trees destroyed by the Station Fire. Destroyed by man . It made my heart sad. But, as I looked closer I could see the new growth and I thought as I do of my own life, of change , of new growth and once again I expressed my gratitude to the natural world for reminding me that life is about change, and once that awareness can be embraced, life and all it’s mysteries can indeed be understood in a brighter light.
The trail is constantly changing. Around each bend, if I stay in the moment I acknowledge the changing landscapes , the wildflowers , the rock formations , the variations in the clouds….
Water is continually in our thoughts. The mileage for the day is centered around water access. It will continue to be a challenge until the Sierras , which will be in about 200 miles. …
Challenges arise from within and from outside of myself. If it isn’t the mind doubting myself, such as glancing up after 17 miles or so and around each bend is what seems to be a never ending winding uphill and my mind over and over resisting and going against the natural flow, then it is the body with its aches and pains , some momentarily , others longer lasting. But, every morning arising to do it all again , with eagerness and curiosity about what the day may bring.
Wandering along throughout the day my mind quiets, these are the moments I most enjoy. But then, there are those times when I am in deeper thought, such as the question , what makes a perfect life ?
I realize it’s not perfection as we envision perfection . A perfect life is a life full of imperfection, for without imperfection how could we possibly feel all of life’s ups and downs. I love this. I love that life is this way .
We are at the Saufleys in Agua Dulce. I was looking forward to meeting the premier trail angel , Donna Saufley. To my dismay she is out of town this weekend. However , we were re – united with some friends we had met earlier on the trail. It was good to hang out with them, drink a couple beers, laugh a couple laughs, enjoy the friendships!!! They are however off again this morning . They are fast. I will miss the Colonel, Beowolf, Monsoon and Williewha… I hope to cross their paths again.
Today will be a day of rest. A day to organize and plan the next 200 miles.
The elements that make up my life, appear daily on the trail . Gentle and sometimes not so gentle reminders about what this thing called life is all about. Feeling such gratitude .
With love ,
I walk on.