Day 24 PCT, May 8th, 2011

Whitewater River (mile 220)-Creek side Camp (mile 235.5) Total miles: 15 ish

May 8th’s trail maps and journals were dedicated to a person I met on the plane, Miguel, because May 8th is Saint Miguel Day.

Miguel was intrigued with the printed Halfmile pct topo maps I was looking over on the plane from NYC to San Diego. He helped me figure out how to read them, and encouraged me to do my map project. So, it felt good to dedicate this day to Miguel.

I woke up early, cowboy camping along Whitewater River. Oh how I loved this spot. I think it was the first fast, intense, river we had come upon in all of our 220 miles and despite it’s cold temperature, I soaked in it. Ate morning breakfast of oatmeal and coffee. Forged creek. Met Sue, a Canadian nurse. Hiked with her and Wandering Dot for a few miles. Ate two tortillas with peanut butter and a banana at another creek around mile 226. Met Guardian and Angel. Hiked with Guardian for awhile and had a nice long talk with him about  my experience with cancer. He wondered if I had one of those “eureka the meaning of life moments” (that’s what I call it anyway). We discussed this for some time and as you can imagine, it was a bit emotional. He mentioned Bach and John Muir’s life stories, and how their difficulties in life deepened their expression of and participation with life. This of course made me think of an unending question tossed around between artists regarding art: do you need to be struggling to make great works? Believe me, I hate this notion and yet life’s struggles certainly compel me to make seemingly more meaningful pieces. But do you need to experience hardships and trauma to produce good work? I hate the idea of the perpetually struggling artist. I want to debunk this myth.

We must have crossed Mission Creek at least 25 times, and at a certain point I decided to hell with it, I’m keeping my trail shoes on and getting them wet. Also, a lot of the terrain had been scarred by a fire, so it was a little depressing. Near the end of the day there were threats of rain. We camped at WR235, which was a bit of a mess from prior campers. Guardian made Dot and me some hot cocoa. Dot and I ate instant mashed potato, split pea soup, and mystery pasta from the hikers’ box (that neither one of us liked), while Angel and Guardian ate their weird dinner concoction of tuna, vegetable soup, and potato. The night turned viciously cold and my feet and fingers went numb. Slept in tent with Dot.

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