When life throws you a rainy day, chase waterfalls.
Day 6: Just some casual afternoon shoe surgery ⠀⠀
Tucked in my perfect sleeping bag near the highway at Scissors Crossing, with road sounds and continuous wind providing a white noise soundtrack, I sleep. It's a deep and dreamy sleep, maybe the best sleep I've ever had on trail, and when I wake up to a bright blue sky and the warmth of the early spring sun I feel a tremendous surge of joy. Hiking! I get to hike today! I love hiking! Hike hike hike! We pack our gear and begin the climb up into the hills, switchbacking past cholla cactus and barrel cactus, with explosions of purple and orange wildflowers popping out around every corner. I hike for miles along the exposed ridges, moving slowly with my swollen toes but feeling completely blissed out from the views. Every step is painful, but it's beautiful, too. Pain aside, the pendulum of my mood has swung so far from where it was last night, and I remind myself that this is why it's important not to overly attach to any one feeling. It all passes. Eventually we come out the other side. I think about this as I meet up with my friends for lunch, hobbling on my destroyed feet, and after eating we cut my shoes. They're just too small, and the blisters on my pinky toes and along the bruised nail beds of my big toes are agonizing, so Gent and I cut the top of the toe boxes off. I'm getting bigger shoes tomorrow, but for now this backcountry hack job and constant ibuprofen will have to do. I hike on into the afternoon, stopping for water at the Third Gate Cache and climbing slowly up toward our chosen campsite. It's late when I finally get there, the last of the day's light just about to disappear, and as I rush to set up camp and cook dinner I weigh the options for what to do about my feet. Bigger shoes will help, but not until things heal. Should I take a rest day? I think I need a rest day. But if I do that, I'll no longer be able to hike with Shivers, whose work schedule doesn't allow for flexibility in slowing down or taking more time off. I get into my sleeping bag, elevating my feet up on my pack. "Let's just see how things feel when you get to Warner Springs," I say to myself. "One day at a time."