The Difference Between Lead and Light – Day 96: Indian Creek Campground to China Beach

July 26

We eat breakfast at the campground’s cafe. We walk into town and we resupply. We catch a shuttle to Cape Sebastian.

It’s almost over, I’m telling myself. We’ll catch a bus and then I’ll get back on the PCT. And that’s when I feel a lump of lead in my gut.

What..? My brain thinks. Hey, we have a plan…

I start running through the options.

Crater Lake? Lead.

PCT? Lead.

Hiking? Lead.

Lead lead lead.

Bus ride? Light.

What’s going on? I’m thinking. Is this a bad day? Are you just tired? Maybe you need a zero? Maybe you need some time alone?

My brain is trying to get a reason for it and my body has no answers. It just doesn’t want to go.

I spent most of my life trying to ignore these signals, sometimes still do. But they tend to be right. They tend to be smarter than me. I wish I trusted them more when they were subtler, so I didn’t have to get smacked by them in surprise, like today.

I walk and I try to listen to how my body is feeling. My confidence is a little shot, I’m realizing. I’m not sure when it started. But I have been letting myself be small. I thought I’d come to the OCT to repair that on my own, and instead a group found me, and we stuck together out of convenience. But it’s making me small. Since when am I a person who won’t do things alone?

We have dinner at an overlook with the waves crashing beneath us.


It feels like it takes me forever to get to the beach. We find a place above the high tide and set up camp. I see one of the most stunning sunsets I’ve ever seen. And all the while I’m asking my gut, are you telling me this is over? But my gut doesn’t have much in the way of answers, only one: we’re not going back to the PCT at Crater Lake.

Maybe I’ll sleep it off, I think, and try to breathe myself to sleep.

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