Day Six: Going Solo

Mile 42 – Mile 47.5 +.5
6 miles

I wake up with my feet propped up and my pink down quilt wrapped around me. I was chilly in the cabin last night so used my sleeping bag/quilt for extra warmth. It’s kind of early – I anticipated sleeping in since I have this comfy bed – but since I’m up I decide to do some work on my blog. I schedule five posts to go up this week and feel very excited about it, although the WordPress app leaves a lot to be desired and uploading photos takes forever. I may end up not including as many photos in these posts and just directing you all to my Instagram. We’ll see.

I do a quick and dirty resupply at the little general store – I have some food left over from the beginning of the hike but definitely need to supplement – and then I organize my belongings so I can check out of the room. As soon as I’ve settled all that I head to the gear shop. I’ve got a date with Hot Legs to buy new shoes.

Everyone at the store knows me now and they all greet me enthusiastically. I’ve told Alley all about Hot Legs, of course, and she teases me, calling him my new boyfriend. I tell Hot Legs this and he laughs. “I’ve got you a huge fan base,” I say, “but they’re mostly queer women. Plus my mom. Sorry!” He laughs some more. Bless this man, truly.

We resupply my med kit with all the blister stuff we used up yesterday. We try on new socks and shoes. I settle on injinji midweight merino wool socks and Altra Lone Peaks shoes in a size 8.5. Please let this work. Hot Legs tapes up my blisters again. We go over my potential routes for the next few days. We go over how to pack my pack most efficiently. I buy the things we’ve picked out. It’s time to say bye.

I don’t really want to, is the thing. Once I leave the gear shop I’ll be really solo again – no trail friends, no pretend trail boyfriend, no one I know – just me, trying to get to Laguna Campground tonight. I know I’m hiking alone, but I’ve enjoyed this camaraderie so much. I’m sad to say goodbye.

Hot Legs gives me a huge hug and tells me I’m amazing. “I can’t wait to see photos of you at the northern monument,” he says, and I try not to cry. Story of my life, honestly.

I pop by the post office to mail a few things home, call Susie about my Idyllwild resupply and call mom and Alley, and then I’m off. Gonna make some miles in some new shoes! Yeah!

I don’t want to jinx it, but the shoes feel…okay. Let’s not talk about it until I’ve hiked more than 6 miles, right?

The hiking is beautiful, maybe my favorite stretch of trail so far. Super green and lush, pinecones the size of my head, lots of pink flowers, and eventually mountains in the distance, so breathtaking I stop and say “what the fuck.” It’s like the trail knows I need a morale boost after yesterday. I do like hiking alone – I’m not sad to be solo on the trail, just a little apprehensive for this evening. But the one foot in front of the other stuff is very pleasant by myself. I stop and take photos; I finish my second roll of film. The earth smells so good. My feet do hurt but not too badly. Everything is okay.

I leap frog a few times with two other hikers who are together and eventually we’re all walking towards the campground. I did it! The miles I intended to do today I did!

We find some other PCT hikers who have already paid for an 8 person site so we ask if we can pitch our tents there. The hiker who paid, Pat, refuses to take any money. He’s sweet but none of us chat very much – he tells me he’ll be getting up very early and he hopes he won’t bother me. Nope. I hope I’ll get up early too. I’m a little anxious about tomorrow – how far I’ll hike, where I’ll camp, if I’ll ever have friends again. I guess we’ll just see.

I make dinner and it takes longer than I anticipate to soak into a hydrated state – Knorrs rice side, beef flavor, I think. So now it’s 9pm and I’ve got a full pot of somewhat soupy rice and I have to eat it…there’s nothing I’d like to do less. But all I ate today was Nutella (thanks hiker free boxes), a Clif Bar, a Pro Bar, and some jerky, and I know if I want my feet to recover and my body to stay strong I need more calories. I’ll try to choke this dinner down and then, bed.

It’s past hiker midnight, after all.

PS: Two things I forgot to tell you guys: I’ve officially dug a cat hole now (good job, Body!) and my tent fell over ON ME in a wind storm on night #4. Okay that’s really all for now! XO.

17 thoughts on “Day Six: Going Solo

    • Vanessa says:

      Tam! Your comments always make me SO happy! I don’t always have time to respond to each comment on the trail but I just wanted to say thank you for reading and being so supportive and also for being a badass queer person out in nature ❀

  1. Jillian says:

    Get it, girl! So happy to see you on this journey. I can’t wait until the day we’ll​ meet in real life and have a cuppa under the big maple. Until then, I’m cheering you on from afar!

  2. Jill Hectpr says:

    I look forward to your posts every morning. So proud of you 😊!!! Don’t forget fruits and veggies 😁. Love you 😍.

  3. Emma says:

    New reader here – I’ve been obsessed with PCT blogs ever since I read Carrot’s book, and I found your blog from her Instagram. I’m going to be reading along so thought I’d say hi! I hope your feet are holding up!!!

  4. Laurie says:

    Reading at work makes my work day soooooo much easier. πŸ˜€ Yay, glad you have new shoes! I’m guessing from your Insta they are working a whole lot better “)

  5. alleyhector says:

    You’ll never be without buddies for long. I know you. Excited about your new friends (blog readers stay tuned, I’ve got the inside scoop on what’s coming up, haha) already too!

  6. Jill Alexander says:

    I found your blog through Carrot’s instagram too, I love your writing voice! Glad to see the new shoes are helping : ) Thank you for writing too, I wrote half of my thru with my husband and it can be tough to write sometimes when you’re really tired. Keep it up!

  7. Joy de Beyer says:

    What a beautiful day – thanks for the gorgeous pictures. Mazeltov ! I expect you will have lots and lots of trail friends – it seems to me you attract people. My sense of you is that you are warm, and funny. Im loving your blog – the first one I have ever followed. I look forward to each day.

  8. Mandy friedman says:

    I love this day too – except your tent fell ON you???
    Were you sleeping? You must have got the most terrible fright 😧
    Love you πŸ’–

  9. jinsing21 says:

    Hurray for new shoes and your feet feeling a little better today! I love your writing. Thank you for taking us with you on your extraordinary journey – and for sharing these magnificent photos! That pinecone… wow. Looking forward to reading the next installment when you are able to post again. Lots of love! xx

  10. Ilana Silverman says:

    Hi Vanessa… so glad today went well!! I’m really loving following your blog… it’s so interesting I almost want to save up a few days and then binge read…. but couldn’t possibly do that because I need to know each night that you are safe and happy, and that your mom has peace of mind!!!:). Have a great day tomorrow!! Sleep tight:)πŸ‘πŸ˜œβ€οΈπŸ’‹

  11. Sharon Abrahamson says:

    You are a superstar, you can add me to hot legs fan club …
    Keep going we are all with you on your journey

  12. Anneliese G says:

    Keep on keeping on, you are very inspiring you know and I really hope the new shoes hold up. Today I have been co-facilitating a workshop building pretend bomb disposal courses out of rope, plastic barrels and tin cans for a group of less than enthusiastic public servants. We are staying at a boy scout camp, it’s frosty and cold outside (autumn being upon us here) the food is truly bloody awful and I can hear violent snoring from my neighbour next door. Tomorrow more of the same. The PCT looks mighty fine right now πŸ˜€πŸ‡³πŸ‡ΏπŸŒ¬οΈπŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ

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