May 19, 2018 | miles 213.4 to 239.4 | Mission Camp
Today started off so well, but ended as one of my most challenging to date. We started out with a steady pace ascending from the wind farms into gorgeous foothills which hid several canyon-like gulches and a beautiful refreshing river where we took our morning break. After another two hours and the sound of gunfire, we reached Mission Creek which we followed to the top of the mountain ridge.
The trail had a gentle uphill grade for most of our trek up the creek, but the last three miles turned into a steep strugge which made me really question whether this trail was for me. My friends had gone on ahead, and yet there I was trudging along slower than ever, limited by my weak and exhausted legs, struggling for oxygen at high elevation with my spoiled, underutilized lungs, and wearing away my fragile mental constitution. How am I supposed to handle the Sierras if I’m already struggling with these hills?
But I made it. 26 miles. And it finally hit. I finally get the feeling of being a thruhiker. It’s not glorious or a feeling of revelation. Instead it’s just a realization and acceptance that this is my life for the upcoming months. There will be times that are miserable and times that push my mental physical boundaries, but short of injury, I’ll be pushing on to Canada. Because that’s why I’m out here for, and that’s what I want to do.
Tomorrow we’re going into big Bear, and it’s going to feel great to be in town and have town food.
P.S. Hiker hunger is real. A ravenous appetite has kicked in. Two bags of ramen, a Knorr side dish, and a pecan pie (what reasonably should be two dinners) was my feast for the night, and I expect to enter town with the least leftover food to date.