26 Apr 100 Down
Around mile 90 the ol’ hip started giving me trouble. The right hip. But something had to give after two 25 mile days in a row, and the 3rd day in 4 of over 20 miles. The feet were aching but just as you’d expect. I was still blister free so I thanked the trail Gods. That’s some trail magic. I limped across the 100 mile marker – stones arranged next to the trial shaping 100 with smiley faces in the 0’s. A mile later, entering the valley floor with towering oaks and a dried out sandy creek bed, The sun settled in its place for the night, the sky hardly dimming as the Full moon took its place, and I ate peppered beef jerky wrapped in tortillas with fresh garlic. The last of my food purchased 72 hours earlier.
It had started with a whole lot of exuberance. A whole lot of excitement. Enough to carry me 20 miles from the Mexican border. Border patrol watched with binoculars drawn as I shook hands with Marko James and set off north. A wall of sheet metal in my rear view, desert shrubs surrounding me, I began walking.
Truly, it’s flown by. The details to record are endless. The types of lizards scurrying underfoot and into the brush, the heat beating down, the dryness chapping your lips and your nose, the dust kicking up with each gust of wind, the sweat and dirt in the palms of your hands and collecting in your shoes. I passed a few folks and was passed by just as many. All of that would stay the same day in and day out. Ultimately, day 1 ended at Lake Morena as the sun set. I was straight to bed camping amongst over 20 thru-hikers who had left that same weekend.
As the days have passed, a troupe of approximately 10-15 of us have been traveling roughly the same pace. We’ll stack up at water sources or shade for lunch or just a breather. Perhaps not seeing some for 24 hours or more then seeing them again enjoying a rest and a view at the top of a ridge. I’ve found myself walking with a birder from Arizona, Jed. A very knowledgeable fellow my age who can school me on most wildlife and plant life as we go.
Day 1, I was startled twice by rattlers on the trail. Less than 6 feet a way, the big guys made a stink but snuck off before I could get my camera out and ready. I was enlisted to help a French man get his unruly donkeys (surprise) across a wooden bridge. After minutes of pulling and yelling, we moved on unsuccessful and wished him luck as we went. Could be a long walk for that man although I hope he catches up with those donkeys, his accent and his guitar.
Day 2, I mostly hiked alone and enjoyed taking my time for a shorter day. Rabbits hopped along the trail next to me as I started out and crickets hopped in front of me. A day of steady up hill towards Mt. Laguna, I found a nice pine grove at the edge of a meadow to make my camp.
The rest of the 100 miles, we gorgeous but not much I recount here or now. Most remarkably of this stretch perhaps, was, with whipping winds throwing dust at us, 10 of us hunkered down for a restless night under a highway bridge. A hobo dream finally realized for all of us. It was a blessing and truly some trail magic.
And now I rest. I rest a tired body, weary joints, muscles worn, and spirit tested.
Catch ya down the trail.