August 28, 2014
8 miles bellow Bullfrog Lake to Onion Valley trailhead.
Today is my last day on the trail and as I sip my coffee (yup, I’m sittin’ on the bear can) watching the sun slowly creep down my hillside I feel melancholy. I am in my hiking rhythm and I could hike forever. Ok well maybe not forever but possibly for a few more weeks.
I love the simplicity of the trail, where my primary focus is the trail under my boots as I descend or ascend a switchback leading me to an enchanted place. The trail gives me confidence again and again. The trail teaches me self reliance and resiliency. Sometimes the trail beats me up and then it shows me an exquisite stream to swell down my feet.
The trail introduces me to people I may never have met. And I love the community of hikers. Here we are all equal, who we are in “regular life” does not matter. What matters is we stop and chat and share important trail intel. We pull out the map and explain in great detail an amazing campsite we found. We draw pictures in the dirt with our hiking poles leading to stunning must see vistas. And if a hiker is in need we offer help without a second thought. We give away extra coffee packets and power bars. We give away tenacious tape so a fellow backpacker can repair their sole. And always, always we offer words of encouragement when we are huffing and puffing and sweating our way up to the top of a pass. And at the top we congratulate each other and take photos. And when we finally see someone after being alone for 48 hours we linger and share tails like long lost friends. This is the community that I love.