Ever since I got back on the trail two weeks ago, it feels like everything in the universe is aligning and nature is cooperating in order to show me that this is where I belong. I didn’t listen to the doctor’s orders to stay off of my foot for 8 weeks and I didn’t wait for my x-ray results because I knew I had to go back. I was being pulled back by something strong and unexplainable. My friend who drove me to my parents’ home to heal asked my mom how it felt to have me back. My mom said she never got me back. I was mentally back on the PCT all four days that I was home. I was daydreaming of being back nonstop, and now that I am, I couldn’t be happier.
The day I set foot on the PCT again on my own, after my friend who joined me in Big Bear left, and while my hiking partner was somewhere in town resupplying, my heart fluttered and my spirit soared. As I sat in the parking lot of a post office, cramming all of my newly awarded gear into my brand new backpack, a gentle breeze blew and white flower petals spiraled around me. I weighed my backpack at the post office, and it was the lightest its ever been. Everyone smiled at me as if they felt my joy themselves. I found a ride that brought me a little closer to the trail, began hiking, and was awestruck by beauty all around me. There was a cool breeze preventing me from overheating, trees everywhere, a view of water and boats to my left, and before the day was over, my hiking partner hitched a ride further up than where I began and caught up with me. There were shouts of joy and hugs that nearly toppled us over. We set up camp beside a stream that had aromatic sage growing all around it and slept beneath a canopy of trees.
Rain was predicted, but it never came. Likewise, snow was predicted when I began hiking that morning, but I beat it by a few hours. The hikers behind me had to walk through 6 inches of snow! The next day came, and it was also pleasant. I had hiked 11 miles the day before, and 11 the next. The following day, I attempted 14 miles, and did so with minimal pain. I hiked down the sweet-smelling trail with honeysuckle bushes surrounding me on both sides and felt like my injury was healing itself. But, of course I’d heal out here. The trail wanted me back. The universe was aligning in my favor and all of nature was cooperating with me. This is where I belong.