Unforgiving Trail


By far my hardest day yet. The trail twisted through barren foothills inside the massive Anza-Borrego State Park, winding and roller-coasting ever deeper into unrelenting desert. I didn’t see another person or even a tree until mid-afternoon, by which time the baking sun was like a sledgehammer dangling above my morale; the hammer fell somewhere during a seven-mile stretch of incomprehensible climbs and descents, and I spent the rest of the afternoon in a very dark mood.

I think that this trip is much tougher mentally than physically, especially doing it alone. My dad met me at day’s end and we’re staying at a nearby motel in Borrego Springs, which helps (he’ll stick around to meet me in Warner Springs day after tomorrow). And I put in 21 hard miles today – hope they get easier as I roll north!

5 replies
  1. Zenobia
    Zenobia says:

    Thank you so much for making the effort post a blog after such a horrendous day. You must remember that there are a lot of people pulling for you, hanging on your every word and taking every step with you – well, maybe not that last part. Here’s a thought: the further north that you travel, the better the scenery will become. How wise of you to start in the south and work your way northward.

  2. Jean Brown
    Jean Brown says:

    This is just the break-in period, Noah!…hang in there the tall mountains and deep forests will meet you soon. It’s good that your dad is around these first few days to make sure you have everything you need. Good luck, stay safe and your blog friends are with you.

  3. Ed Conrad
    Ed Conrad says:

    Dude, I think it’s incredibly awesome what you’re doing! One way to endure the rough days is by loading up on as many blueberry pancakes and yummy food as you can b/c you’ll definitely need the calories! You definitely nailed it on the head though by commenting on how the mental aspect is perhaps more difficult than the physical aspect of a thru-hike. A thru-hike is definitely a time for extended introspection and there are some definite lows, but you’re bound to experience some incredible highs. ;)

    FYI – IF you’re interested in banding songbirds in Orange County for a day, my scheduled MAPS session is this Thursday, 5/26. LOTS of high-caloric food and some warblers too. Just a thought…

  4. Bill Walker
    Bill Walker says:

    Just looking at those photos makes me ache for the PCT. It’s God’s greenest (and brownest!) earth. The world has hope yet. And I do too if I can make time to do the PCT again next year. But for a mediocre hiker like me, I’m awful lucky not to be headed into all that snow that awaits at Kennedy Meadows!

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