A year or so ago, I told my friend, Tim Hendrix, about my dream of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mexican border through California, Oregon, Washington to the Canadian border. To get physically ready for such a daunting journey, I knew I had to hit the trail often. I planned to do so at least once a month. Without a moment of hesitation, Tim volunteered to hike with me as much as possible. A journey to Joshua Tree National Park to practice some desert hiking was supposed to be my first hike. Tim passed unexpectedly the week before at the age of 45. This hike was for him.
Patrick Eaton and I were roommates for five years in Seattle. He was there for my first hike at Mount Si and watched me fall absolutely in love with any escape I could muster to the nearest available trail. Patrick and Tim were also the best of friends. In town for Tim’s Celebration of Life Party, I asked Patrick to join me on the trail one more time in our personal celebration of the dear friend we lost. Selfishly, it felt good to be hiking with Patrick once again.
Makes Me Want to Believe in God
Everything inside of Joshua Tree National Park seems to be exactly where it should be. For as far as the eye can see, the terrain seems to be arranged like a natural playground beckoning each person who passes through its portal to come and play. It is enough to make me believe in God or at least some form of divine intervention that made such a place possible. Of course, I am eventually snapped back to reality, but holding onto such an idea for a moment was absolutely welcome.
Crunch under Your Feet
With each step in the desert, you are welcomed by an unusual sound underneath your feet. For us city dwellers, this sound is unfamiliar. The crunching of sand lets you know the scenery has changed and you have escaped isolation amongst the steel towers and manicured lawns of Los Angeles or wherever you call home. As someone who hasn’t done a lot of desert hiking, I found the crunch intoxicating and meditative. It let me know I was free.
The first 700-miles of the Pacific Crest Trail goes through the desert of Southern California. On this journey to Joshua Tree, I learned a valuable lesson; apply sunscreen to every single inch of exposed skin. Thanks to spray-on sunscreen I got most of my arms, legs, and neck, but when we got back to the car it became evident to us both that we had missed some spots. Lesson learned and one more thing to be aware of next year when I begin my 2,600-mile endeavor.
Be good to each other,
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