Noelle here: A couple days last week were super hard for me, as I contemplated quitting the trail. For the better part of one full day I could not get it out of my mind. My back aches. My shoulder aches. My Achilles heels ache. My calves ache. My stomach has rejected food for weeks. Basically my entire body is like, “hey! You’re 53 and you’re 40 pounds overweight! We don’t hike, we walk a few blocks to restaurants!” I’m so dang sore and my back is on a ragged edge. I feel so completely uncomfortable and uncertain and often anxious. It’s all new and I can’t fit this experience into nicely organized categories.

My body and mind battled me, but then I would walk around a bend and see this.

Amazing PCT Views
Amazing PCT Views

Or turn to look where we’ve come from and see this (you can see the trail on the next hillside).

Blue skies and mountains
Blue skies and mountains

Also, Steve shared with me that he thinks of this as our job now. I didn’t actually realize it, but he’s put us on a regular schedule. We take a break about two hours after we start hiking, then lunch (with trailside nap) two hours later and a final break in a couple more hours, before the next haul into our camp site. I know this is hard on his body too, he’s told me it is, but his spirit seems to be thriving! He was so excited by the big rattle snake we saw. Then at camp, he turned over a rock while setting up the tent, only to find a Scorpion! He was downright giddy! I was horrified and terrified and wanted to cry. Seriously. Cry.

I eat chips and salsa at Carlitas! I do not sleep next to scorpions! (On a side note, it’s the first night Steve brought his backpack into the tent! 😂😂😂) (on another side note, I didn’t know he’d seen a second one until I read his last post!)

This has been a time of learning what my body can do. A time of trying to be gentle with myself but also being genuine with Steve about my feelings.

We’ve sacrificed so much to get here and quitting is not an option. It’s easy to keep hiking, when I think about the flip side of missing out on the time with Steve out here. I want to experience this together. I want to wake up on mountain tops with him (even in 50 mph winds!). I want to start our hike each morning with a kiss and then chapstick (in that order because he doesn’t want his chapstick to rub off on me!)

Plus, we got here:

PCT 150 mile marker
PCT 150 mile marker

So for now, it’s one more step. Just for another day, I’ll walk with my best friend!

Idylwild statue
Idylwild statue