two giant hills.
giant redwoods ushering us home.
starting the day with clean clothes and gloves is like stepping out of a spa. (my gloves are THE MOST OFFENSIVE article of clothing and it's often so close to my face, so to have a fresh pair is pretty amazing.) i thought i was ready to go after our rest day, so i opted out of coffee this morning to see how well i would do without it. mistake #1.
on the first climb, i started sweating profusely. i mean like drops dripping all over my forehead and back. it was an unusual amount for me, so my shirt got soaked, and i started freezing on the downhill. mistake #2. my body just couldn't figure out how to cool down and warm up. finally, samuel suggested changing my shirt to a dry one, and that changed everything. weird how i just learned about hypothermia, but in the moment couldn't make the connection.
anyway, we hit the base of our large descent and stopped to eat our cold leftover spaghetti. we met two dudes who just rolled in from elk prairie campground where we were headed. they didn't have a lot of stuff on them (not even panniers), and just seemed like they were having simple fun. (oh, to be 20-something again. ha ha.) we've been meeting a lot of early 20-somethings along the way, most of them on an adventure, looking for what's next, and perhaps learning about who they are and what they are made of. i admire that dedication to create space to explore, to admit, "i don't know what i'm doing," and to challenge themselves with something epic. i suppose we are in that exact boat. ha!
after my belly was full, we kept riding and hit our next big hill. it was PAINFUL. my butt was hurting a lot today, and my mind was not in the right place. i started having thoughts of hitchhiking....and then the hill came to a downhill. phew! but it we would hit an uphill again, so i wasn't too relieved. then uphill again. this time, i started feeling so bad that i started thinking that this would be the end of this tour. "today would be my last day. i would HAVE TO quit! how would i announce it?!" my mind was going downhill extremely fast. samuel suggested i make myself an instant coffee, so i did. shortly after, i started feeling a ton better and we finally summited. after about 30 minutes from the coffee, i was happy as a clam cruising down the old growth redwood forest. i'm surprised at how low i could dip and how quickly i swung back to hope. nutrition makes all the difference.
after an AMAZING ride through the redwoods, we arrived at elk prairie campground at 3:30 and laid low, soaking in sunshine and being slow. we had a very short day of 34.5 miles, becuase we shaved 30 miles off the ride by doing it two days prior.
i met an older couple, trail named spirit and steady, and got to hear some about their thru-hikes on cdt, at, pct, and other epic trips. wow. they were very peaceful to be around and i was inspired by their stories and commitment to the trail.
and then, as samuel and i were talking about where meredith and michael (m&m) might be, they rolled right in! they stayed in crescent city like us, so we had a potluck with them. another guy dillon from portland rolled in a little after, so he joined in and a while after him, a canadian couple we briefly met a few days ago rolled on in. the mood was jovial with entertaining stories commiserating our bike tour tales and being restored by way of laughter.
the community formed around this journey is a beautiful thing.
i'm feeling grateful tonight. for everything.