Julia and Phil agreed to be guest bloggers for Picky Bars over the summer while they complete the strenuous Pacific Crest Trail Hike. They are amazing people, living an inspiring life, and following their hearts in order to learn about life and themselves. We are inspired an incredible amount by this pair and hope you feel the same after reading this latest entry below. Julia's perspective of a grateful and thankful attitude while encountering extreme conditions is motivating and humbling at the same time.
This has been an amazing adventure so far. We are currently in Independence, CA, mile 790 of the PCT. We entered the Sierra Nevada mountains at mile 700, after enduring over a month of desert. One thinks of the desert as sandy, flat, and hot, but we really saw it all while traversing this area: high points and low points (both emotional and literal), 100 degree days and 25 mile waterless sections, snow and freezing temperatures, idyllic mountain towns, barren stretches of desert, and endless mountains. We'd finish with one mountain pass just to round a bend and see that another awaits us, or finish descending 8,000 feet into a desert basin just to see that another, larger climb is next. The terrain was constantly changing and constantly up and down. We saw 5 rattlesnakes, a TON of lizards, and lots of those crazy horned toads, among other wildlife. The desert was a challenge and crazy in its own way, and I'm a little sad that it's over. The biggest surprise in the desert, for me, was seeing how much the terrain changed day to day and realizing how BEAUTIFUL the desert can be.
Having the chance to hike all day and see California in this way is amazing, and a true gift, but it has its fair share of challenging moments. I find I need to remind myself every day that we are CHOOSING to be here and that I should probably stop complaining about my heavy pack, hurting feet, or the boiling (or freezing) temperatures. I have moments where I get pointlessly frustrated and mad at the trail, the rocks, the trees, even the little lizards that frequently dart in front of me. But, amidst the frustration, there are so many moments in each day that make it worth it. The beauty of our surroundings is overwhelming. All we have to do is walk each day, and that affords so much time for thinking and reflecting. And, we are meeting so many unique, interesting, and amazing people along the way.
Once we hit Kennedy Meadows at mile 700, the official end of the desert and start of the Sierras, the terrain changed almost immediately. It was crazy. Suddenly there were huge mountains, things were GREEN, and there was water everywhere. We've only been in the Sierras for a week, and I am blown away so far by the spectacular scenery. The mountains are HUGE, so dramatic, and go on forever! I've never seen mountains like this before. It is such a privilege to be able to hike through them and see them inside and out. 2 days ago we hiked to the summit of Mt. Whitney, which is the highest mountain in the lower US at 14, 505 ft, and that was probably one of the coolest experiences so far on the trail. My legs were tired from days of up and down, and at times I wanted to quit, but I'm so glad we did it. You could see for miles, the Sierras on one side and the desert on the other.
Tomorrow morning we'll continue on, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks ahead. I am so excited for everything to come, and so thankful to have the chance to experience this adventure.