May 25, 2018 | miles 377 to 389.2 | Eagle Roost
Today I got off trail to in anticipation for a friend’s wedding. My father brought trail magic of fresh bananas, chips, cookies, and water while picking me up – surprising both me and the group of hikers I met yesterday and today. It was certainly a positive turn after a tough morning of poor sleep and an accidental 1.6 miles and 1000-foot descent down the wrong trail.
The trail itself was incredible as always; I had a beautiful morning view of the clouds over LA from the peak of Mt. Baden-Powell, and the descent thereafter followed the crest giving stunning overviews from any direction. Steep downward slopes were tough on my knees, but I had plenty of time to get to Eagle Roost and took the time slowly and carefully.
While I’m happy and excited for my friend’s wedding, rejoining non-thruhiker civilization – even after just a short period on-trail already feels strange. The crawling traffic of Los Angeles – despite not even being rush hour – seems foreign to someone who is used to contact with, at most, 15-20 hikers a day.
The frenzied drivers battling for every inch of space available to finish their commute however many seconds or minutes earlier seems especially baffling when compared against the thru-hiking style of hiking however far your legs (or daylight) will take you. And then you have the juxtaposition of highway and civilization against the gorgeous curves of the mountains surrounding the LA. Even just a couple weeks ago, I was one of those drivers missing my incredible surroundings in a rush to get to my next destination wherever that may be. Why did it take until now for me to acknowledge the futility of struggling for those few extra minutes when I could have taken the time to better appreciate my surroundings or learn something new from an audiobook or podcast?
Somehow now I’ve got eyes for the hills. Even the summer-baked grass of the grapevine hills hide beauty that I missed despite driving through so many times previous. When did all these mountains appear in southern California, and how did I manage to be so oblivious to them all this time?
All the while I struggled knowing that my nero-zero-nero will have me behind my trail family.
I’m also stuck thinking about what Felix told me: “All you’ll be thinking about is how you want to be back on the trail.”