23 April 2008

Mt. Laguna to Warner Spring

I left Mt. Laguna after 4 hours working through my mail drop and phone calls. When I packed up and walked the ½ mile back to the trailhead my Achilles in my right ankle had a bright warm pain. Being late in the day I was tired and my mental calm blew from my mind with the gust of the wind. As doubt and concern began to arise in my mind saying, “Will my ankle heal?, What’s wrong? How can I fix this? Will this take me from the trail?”

The majesty of nature pulled me back as I gaze before me through a saddle a range of peaks. I audible said “wow!”. Grace continued as some Trail magic came my way. In a campground 5 miles PCT north of Mt. Laguna I stopped for water. A woman asked about my hike and reported that the winds were going to be stronger and temps were going to be 10 degrees colder than our previous night. After mentioning that I didn’t want to spend $17 to camp, when the trail was free, Sarah offered me some dirt and I stayed with her. I was glad to call it a day and share some company.

Sarah reported that she’s helped many hikers over her regular trips to Mt. Laguna Recreational Area. She offered me wine and veggies and we talked until the cold arrived as our sun exited.

Sunday morning my Achilles continued to plague me, however I hiked on. This injury has been a kind of gift as it helps me slow down and be intentional in caring for myself. After struggling with the undulating trail, I chose to allow myself pain. This change of attitude from frightening to accepting my condition opened my mind to new ideas. Shortly following my moment of compassion, I thought of how to wrap my foot and ankle with a bandana. Then I was able to change my stride and relieve some strain. I hiked this way for the next three days. My ankle hasn’t felt any better; I am thankful that it doesn’t feel any worse.

My physical pain was counter-balanced by my emotional vitality. The trail offered me much energy during these ???? miles. As I descended into Mason valley truck trail on Monday the pet war guarded by decorated sentinels of brush poppies. These yellow flowers, popped-out against the various shades of browns and greens. Continuing down into lower elevations more colors of flowers sprinkled the scene before me.
Mom would not like how dirty my clothes have been getting. One day I was resting upon a rock looking down into San Felipe Valley a cool breezed comforted me. I was startled by a noise behind me. “What was that?” as I snap my head around. No one was there. Settling back into my seat I hear this noise again. With a little experimenting I discovere the source of the startling sounding. Moving my torso side to side, I hear the sound similar to carboard on sandy pavement. However my sound source was my dry and stiff shirt scrapping the rock I was sitting upon. Man I was disgusting. Ha!

My evolving morning and nighttime routine have helped me get on to the trail earlier. Now I can be on the trail by 6am, I started meeting new people. Medi??? Pastor (You remember that some people take trail names for the duration of their hikes?) is one. She is inspirational; she is recovering from a staph infection in her knees from an ’07 surgery. Her attitude and her smile was encouraging later that day some pct alumni past me heading southbound to the kick-off party.

My final night on trail I meet Andrea and joanne. These spirited girls are a delight to talk with. Joanne is celebrating her birthday Saturday. She is a bit of a spitfire. Andrea, walks with wonder on her face. We walked the last dozen miles into Warner springs together. As I left the trail to scrabble up rocks, Joanne invited me to take a side trip to Jashua Tree to do some bouldering. I’m really excited that this might take place.

They stayed on trail and I walked into Warner Springs. I meet up with B-1. He was grateful to learn that I carried his sunglasses that I found two days earlier. He offered me a shower and the floor space. I was stoked to have the joy of company and lodging for free. After dinner I soaked in the hot spring pool at warner spring resort, listening to B-1 share story after story from his 67 years on earth.
I'm catching a hitch to the pct kick-off party on Thursday, ill call from there.

Love Casey.