The rain and my sore body factored into my decision to take my first zero in Mount Laguna. Within a few hours, it was clear that the decision was most appropriate. The rain and high winds remained all day. It gave me the chance to organize my gear, and “bounce” a full two pounds of gear ahead to a post office a hundred miles down the trail. The ability to do some additional bathtub laundry was an added perk, too.
The following morning, I was already walking on the road by 5:45 and hit the trail at 6:02. My decision to take the extra night was confirmed when I saw two hikers a few miles down the trail getting up. Apparently, the wind was so intense that they both feared about being blown off the side of the mountain and got almost no sleep.
What followed were two unbelievably beautiful days of hiking. The first day totaled 17.5 miles, and the next day was about an 11 mile day.
It felt great to be moving. During these two days, I met some incredibly nice people. So far, every hiker has been warm, kind, and so unique. One hiker, who is a yoga instructor in the non-trail world, taught me a few stretches to help out a sore spot on my leg. Another showed me a picture of the teardrop trailer he built from his own design. We spoke about tiny houses and nomadic living.
I am thrilled to be party of this thru-hiking community. Despite not knowing each other, the shared mission instantly bonds us. When we meet someone new on trail, it feels as if you have known them forever. This was evident in Julian. After meeting up with Justin and Ian, my trail friends from the first days, we enjoyed our free slice of pie from Mom’s. Afterwards, we wandered over to the brewery/pizza place to support the local economy. As other hikers came inside, they joined us and were instantly a part of the group.
As I am getting ready to move onwards again from two “weather/foot-healing” zero days in Julian, I am certain that the people I continue to meet will continue to make this journey most special.
As in other parts of the country and world, California has shut down restaurants and bars, except for take-out. Part of the trail culture is to use these opportunities to share stories and make friends. We all commented on how we’ll find ways to adapt to these unusual times and circumstances.
It’s all we can do.
It’s how we continue to move onwards in the face of new challenges.