I didn't see a single person hiking from Juniper Basin Campground to Manning Camp, I was completely alone. But I loved it. I really enjoyed hiking up this portion of the trail, realizing that I'd hiked up from cactus to pines! The views were beautiful, I've always wanted to see the Rincons from this perspective, you can't see it from Tucson and only get a glimpse of it from the Catalinas. I love exploring new places and I felt gratitude for yesterday's decision to continue on, otherwise I would have missed these views!
I was excited to finally get back out there by myself but I was feeling trepidation as well. What if I no longer liked backpacking? What if I got lonely? What if I ran out of water? What if this is too hard for me and I haven't trained enough?
"As I turned on to Hwy 395 heading south I too a final look at Whitney and blew her a kiss. It was finally time to head home. This had been the most challenging but incredible experience. I'm so proud of what I've done."
"I knew on Day 1 that I'd make it. I told myself that out loud while hiking up Cottonwood Pass 22 days ago. Though that confidence and bravery had wavered a bit I felt a renewed sense of belief in myself and I was proving that I was strong and brave."
"Don't tell me I don't have to climb any passes when I have two sections climbing over 1,000 ft! Who designed this stupid trail?! I was officially not having fun. I was tired, and cold, and now it was starting to snow?!?"
"I hiked by myself for a good portion of the day and it was nice to kinda be solo again. I kept thinking about how I probably wouldn't have made it this far if I was actually on my own for the whole trail. The main topic of conversation after Silver Pass was how each of us were feeling about ending our hike. By now I knew I didn't have another 80 miles in me to get to Yosemite Valley."
"I turned my gaze over to the trail, about 50 yards away, where I saw a line of hikers. A lot of people had hiked by this morning, getting an early start but this group of four was led by a guy wearing a white and black trucker hat and a red bandana around his neck. Hey, why did he look so familiar?"
"Somehow the contents of my pack, my resupply box, and freshly laundered clothes had taken over the space. I tried to put together a list of the things I needed to do while here in town. I needed to somehow fix my still broken trekking pole, get more bandaids, etc for my blisters, get some toe sock liners to help with my blisters, and make sure I had everything else I'd need for another week in the backcountry."
"After driving from Tucson to Lone Pine, getting my permit at the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitors Center, parking my car at the Lone Pine Film History Museum's long term parking lot, making sure I had everything I needed in my insanely heavy pack, and after having one more freak out, I met Lone Pine Kurt."