Post-Family Blues – Day 53: Walker Pass to Spanish Needle Creek

PCT Miles: 652.1 to 668.7
Miles: 16.7

My stomach has one last hurrah in the hotel toilet. At least I hope that’s the last of it.
Mark drops me off at the trailhead at 7:30 and it is so very, very hard to let him go.
My body feels rested and strong but tired. The first two, then the first four miles speed by. I am not thinking about the trail much at all, but about how bad my heart hurts.
Why am I doing this? Seems to be the question of the day. I fantasize about going home and curling up on the couch. Between skipping 60 miles, approaching the “end of the desert” (the terrain I’m most comfortable with), the Sierra looming, Mark’s visit, being in between trail families… I am feeling very mixed up. What is it I really want out of this hike? If I skip around and just do the parts that interest me, would it be better? Am I looking for something that is impossible for a trail to provide? Has the trail already given me what I needed?
But I also know this is what days-out-of-town can look like, and there is nothing to do but try to be kind and patient with myself, and to hike. 
I’m sitting for a break when I see hiker Mark, a doctor I’d camped with back on the Idyllwild alternate. We make small talk and I’m glad to see a familiar face. 
I take frequent breaks once the sun makes an appearance. My goal for the day is 16.7 miles. I feel a weird mixture of incredibly strong and incredibly unmotivated. I stop for water and there’s a group of hikers there and I chat with them. They’re going to the same campsite I am which is comforting. 
On the climb out of water to camp, Campo comes hiking up behind me. We catch up and he hikes on. I see him again at camp and we talk a little more. I tell him how I’ve been trying to write my “I quit” post all day in my head. I don’t really want to quit. Not yet, anyway. It is hard to keep your momentum out here when you’re reminded what it feels like to be safe and loved and have things be easy.
I gather water and go to bed. He’s trying to hike another ten miles or so tonight. I curl up in my tent and text Mark through my Delorme and he tells me the sewage pipe at the house collapsed and everything is backing up and overflowing. He’s had a rough week. At least I know now if I went home I still wouldn’t be able to use a toilet. 

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