Necktie and I started hiking only in the evening, at about 4:30 or 5pm, but we still managed to get in about 8 miles before pitching our tents. We set up camp near a beautiful, peaceful lake around 8:30pm and watched the meadow and forest around us darken as we ate dinner and crawled into our separate tents, which we’d missed so much (short video clip of my location/the joy on my mosquito-bitten face here).
We had slept in a tent only two times during the two weeks we had off, and this was when we had a comfortable bed to sleep in inside a house. Instead of accepting the bed, while the host was out at a party, we sent him a message asking if we could keep our packs at his house and go camping. He said, “sure,” and we wandered out in the middle of the night, with just a tent and sleeping bags, looking for a place to camp.
Luckily for us, Tahoe (we had hitched up north to spend 4th of July there) has many short, easy dog-walking and bike-riding trails behind people’s homes, and we found a place that was somewhat flat enough to sleep on and slept there. We did this twice, and then ended staying at a generous friend’s Airbnb home in Truckee for several nights. We couldn’t say no to a two-story vacation home right near a river and hiking trails that lead to a quaint little town where Necktie played music for passersby and earned about $60 (I will post videos of this later)!
Anyway, here we were, back in the forest, and not in the middle of town behind someone’s house, happy as can be. Our 8-mile hike to this place was full of joy and nostalgia and memories. The first gurgling spring I came across, I threw my pack down, poured out my water bottle full of faucet water, and refilled it with fresh, cool water from under the ground. I sat there for a moment and contemplated how good it was to be back on the Pacific Crest Trail.
I had encountered many sources of joy that day. My tailbone injury was hardly bothering me at all. My feet felt fine. My muscles were remembering what it felt like to hike for hours. Still, we took lots of breaks and hiked rather slowly in order to let our bodies build their strength back up. During these breaks, I was captivated by the scenery around me.
I had also befriended a butterfly who sat on my hand and didn’t want to leave. I hiked with this little creature sitting in the palm of my hand for over an hour (I posted a video of this on Facebook) until it decided to fly away. In the evening, I sat by the lake and meditated, then crawled into my tent, snacked, read “The Sea-Wolf” by Jack London, and fell asleep.