Total PCT Trail Miles today: 24.6
Charles here. Beautiful sunrise high up in the dramatic chaparral as the mist pours around us and down into the valleys below.
|Our two tents, with Seano as photographer and Chris and Charles in the photo.|
|Could that be Mt. San Jacinto in the distance?|
|Yep, it is. Mt. San Jacinto -- the range we'll be climbing up into tomorrow. But to get to them, we have to hike nearly a marathon today.|
We hiked down through the beautiful chaparral on the long hike to the famous Paradise Valley Cafe, in a valley about 5,000 ft elevation. From there, the climb begins into the rugged San Jacinto Mountains. But not until tomorrow. All day today as we loop up and around and down through the mountains we daydream about food, town food!! Oh my gods. We have, of course, heard ahead of time about the wondrous "San Jose Burger" -- which is supposedly about the size of a small person's head (it isn't -- we subsequently learn to take anything we hear on the Trail as subjunctive, not indicative. It's only "they say").
The day is gorgeous and the landscape a marvel. Since we began this trip we have noticed that time has lengthened and slowed to a wonderful rich fullness. All three of us experience this -- and we hear from other PCT hikers that they do, too. It's a phenomenon we are familiar with from our adventures. To us, we have been gone from Boulder for something like two months. But according to the calendar, we have been gone not even two weeks. We get four months worth of living, and it only costs us two weeks of "actual" time. But Einstein is right when he says there is no "actual" time aside from this experience we describe.
So our days stretch out to an enormity we marvel at.
|Charles and Sean at the Paradise Valley Cafe. Three beers later.|
We also notice that we are not "hiking" the trail. The distances are so enormous that stretch out before us, and the days are so full of richness of experience, "distance" and "walking" barely make sense to us. We find it makes more sense to say that we moved from our "home" in a house in Colorado onto the trail in April. And that this trail we have moved onto is a dynamic moving place ~ and so we flow with it. Our legs move in cycles and rhythms, and the landscape turns and transforms. It is a wonder. So we will live here on the trail for months, and flow with it northward.
About the 14 mile mark for the day, Sean develops shin splints. Bad news! And searing pain for Seano -- agonizing. But it's not incapacitating, because is being stoical as he marches on -- better on the uphill, in hell on the downhill. Pain pills help. We knew from our online research that some hikers with shin splints get off trail and do ice packs and are in pain, and it takes two or three weeks to clear up. Others stay on the trail and are in pain, and do cold soaks or ice in towns, and it takes two or three weeks to clear up. So we suck it up and keep going.
At Paradise Valley Cafe, we pack his leg with ice, and the server brings us ice cold Hefeweizen with orange slices in it. GLORY!! Then came the huge, huge burger and sweet potato fries. We ate so much, we impressed even the server who has seen hikers eat fantastic amounts.
Then we moved out back to set up tents in a meadow by a large Jeffrey pine. Sean's leg is swollen and he's emotionally and physically wiped out after a really grueling day. But all of us are glowing with the glory of town food. YUMMMMM.