Jessica Ivry, my close friend from college, came to visit me with her baby. We rented an airbnb house in Tehachapi for the night. Trail angel Legend, along with Hunter, my fellow hiker, gave me a ride into the gated community, Jessie following close behind from LA.

Trying to get into the gated community with Legend is another story altogether.

We made a roast chicken with potatoes, while managing the care of Esti, and catching up. It felt so good to be in a home, with my close friend, so good. Too good. Why I am doing this PCT thing when I can live like this! good.

My body, once off the trail for more than two hours, began to struggle to move, and minor pains on the trail became major pains that seemed to prevent me from being able to walk without limping. My psoas, hip flexors, piriformis, and si joint were all screaming to stop. stop stop stop stop stop.

The next day, cleaned, rested, and  in my town dress, we headed to the bakery. The only evidence of my thru-hiker identity were white feet from shoes and gators with legs five shades darker. Back packs lined the outside wall. I nodded to the other hikers, but they looked at me as if I was from the outside.
Once removed from the trail and surrounded by creature comforts, while also removed from other fellow hikers, I begin to question why I am doing this hike. I wrote a list back in Brooklyn, a list I sat down to write to remind me of the reasons so that when things got tough, I could remind myself of why I was doing it. There is nothing comfortable about hiking 17-25 miles a day through the Mohave Desert, and I left my list back home.

Jessie reassured me that once I am back on the trail I’ll be fine. My body, despite its aches and pains, will resume its daily journey north.

I am now with Hunter at the Best Western: a young, strong, handsome and thoughtful  thru-hiker. We have been hiking together since HikerTown and his companionship has made the more difficult winds, deep sand pits, glaring heat, 4000 foot climbs, and night hikes so much easier. Renee, a female thru-hiker from Portland, visited too. Surrounded by more of the pack, I feel a sense of belonging I need in order to do the entire PCT. We are special creatures, us attempting this journey. I celebrate my time with them as we access how many liters to bring on this next 25 mile waterless stretch, what gear we can bounce to Kennedy Meadows, what time to hit the trail tomorrow, how many PCT hikers have died this year on the trail, and whether to continue a straight Nobo journey or flip flop. Tomorrow I will walk and walk and walk with them. Although creature comforts are nice, being dirty isn’t so dirty when surrounded by dirt and you can’t see the stars from inside a hotel at night.

HikerTown! Smell the hiker feet? See the roaches in the sink?

Stroganoff sleeping under a tree, waiting for the heat of the day to pass.

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