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."
"The trail is hard in that way, you make friends and you may never see them again. But every once in a while you get reunited and it feels magical. We then wondered where Brian and Diane were. Lee was certain they'd show up sometime. "I bet they come over on the ferry today, I know we'll see them here.""
"Combine that with my 47lb pack I was frustrated that I was back to my slow and steady pace. In a bad moment of frustration I took a break and ate one of my Pop Tarts. I reminded myself how far I'd already come and I was still doing it even if it was just a little slower. I told myself I'd start saying I was strong and steady, because I was."
"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."