Noelle here:

It’s cold. Holy smokes, it’s cold! This morning was supposed to get down to 26. I believe that’s probably true.

Steve just left the van for day 2. Yesterday he did 27 miles and today will be shorter around 20. I hiked a bit over six miles and realized two plus weeks off made a difference. Not sure how he pulled 27 off! So strong.

I cried a lot yesterday. Just randomly, out of no where. The last couple weeks were so stressful and I think being still for the first time let it all overwhelm me.

Interesting that I consider hiking being still now. When I’m simply putting one foot in front of the other, there is time and space for my mind to wander. Time and space for contemplation and meditation.

Both yesterday and today were great hiking days. Sunny but cool. I wore shorts! It was heavenly to feel the sunshine on my face. So different from the last couple weeks of Washington.

This morning I hiked to Boiling Springs Lake. It was literally boiling, with all kinds of signs saying to stay on trail.

I guess they were serious.

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You could hear the water boiling. I really wanted to touch it, but I dutifully stayed on the trail. There was a little stream back down towards the trailhead and the water was hot but not boiling. I saw a little snake that didn’t quite make it.

I went back to the van and made my way to the next meeting point near Chester. The trailhead was so warm and sunny. I made myself some ramen and texted with my sisters. It’s weird when we have cell reception in what seems like the middle of no where. I checked Instagram and saw that friends who’d also come back down here, were calling it. Three hundred miles shy of the whole trail, but too much snow in the Sierras again.

As I started hiking, Steve’s sibling text group came to life. I texted with them as I hiked, stopping periodically to sit on a rock or log when I needed to concentrate.

It was beautiful! Mostly flat and forested. Then this handsome guy came around a bend.

We hiked back to the van, chatting about family and trail and uncertainty along the way.

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