Day 9: I Leave My Friends Behind

Started: Eagle Rock (106.2)

Ended: Campsite (115.4)

Total: 9.2 Trail + 4 Bonus miles

I woke up just before sunrise. There was no rush getting up. I need to pick up my resupply box at the Warner Springs Post Office and it did not open until 9 a.m. and it was only three miles away.

Warner Springs has an excellent community center supporting PCT hikers. I walked there first and signed in. In the back there are bucket showers and a sink to do laundry. Instead of picking up my box, I cleaned up first. Once again I strolled around town in my 1.2 ounce laundry shorts. I’m a thru hiker now and I just don’t care.

No. I will not post a selfie of me in them.

While my laundry dried, I skipped the shuttle ride to the post office and walked the mile there and back.

After I returned to the community center, I went through what I had sent myself. It was a bit too much, so I put a bunch in the hiker box. I had ten days of coffee in there, but I traded it for electrolytes.

Yeah, I know it doesn’t make sense to me either. I used to love coffee less than a week ago.

I also packed a microwave meal in the box, so instead of eating in town, I cooked that.

It was decision time. Once my laundry dried, I could advance, or I could zero like everyone else. It was during this time I earned my trail name Young Buck.

Everyone has minor injuries like blisters, pulled muscles, sore IT Bands, and sore feet. I, on the other hand, am completely healthy. A three mile day will not get me to Canada. So, I said goodbye to everyone and pushed on. I hiked six miles to the base of a large climb with plenty of flowing water. I am alone at this oasis in the desert.

I set up camp and forced myself to eat. I’m still more thirsty than hungry. With some daylight left and all alone, I searched for the lesson I was sent here to learn.

By me there are two trees. One is small and homely. It doesn’t tower over everything here, but it is so remarkable. It is growing from underneath a boulder! How it is possible, I do not know, for the rock that covered it, blocked both the rain and the sun. Despite this obstacle, not only did it reach the sky, but it cracked the rock.

I turned around and there was a tall but very dead tree. It’s roots reached the flowing water and at one time it was the biggest tree here. It stands, but its branches are bare.

I suspect that the tree growing from the boulder used to look at the once mighty tree and wished it was as tall and beautiful. Maybe it still does. Does it know that it thrives?

Does the now dead tree realize that it is no longer going to grow leaves? Maybe it refuses to fall because it believes it will grow again even though it already has full access to the sun and roots that have plenty of water. It would be better for it to fall and become the soil for a new tree.

Tomorrow I’ll get up early and attack this.

With that, I fell asleep to the sound of flowing water.

4 thoughts on “Day 9: I Leave My Friends Behind

  1. “A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.“

    – Hermann Hesse

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  2. Mike, the kids, and I are really enjoying reading about your experience. Sadie even shared your story with her teacher 🙂 Beautiful pictures.

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