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22nd May 2015

Mileage 24.5 (39.4km)

Bushcamp (573.4) to Wildflower Camp (597.9)

Golden Oak Springs

The strong wind of last night did little to stop my strong desire for sleep. Again I was asleep prior to the setting of the sun. When I stuck my head outside my tent I saw clouds being thrown through the atmosphere at high speed. With all my layers of clothing on I set off. No views and little wildflowers punctuated the first couple of hours of the hike. There were many trees which grabbed the moisture from the clouds causing water droplets to form around every tree of substance. Many water droplets fell onto my down jacket this morning.

Several hours hiking and I made it to Golden Oak Springs. I recently repair water source of critical importance. There were several hikes there and to my complete surprise I met Kravitz and Scotland. I hadn’t seen them for many weeks. We embraced and swapped stories. I found out they are now called ‘Ego and Twist’. Their names recently changed, as sometimes happens on the trail. Dundee was also at the spring telling of his similar forced lay over. The road walk damaged his body too. My slow pace had me soon walking alone. Again.

The pain in my ankle started to increase and my walking pace slowed. I stopped for a stretch and a rest. Within less than a minute I was asleep. When I woke I was cold even though I was wearing every layer of clothing I had. I started off down the trail, looking and feeling like somebody in a nursing home. My legs were stiff. Gone was the fluid motion I had weeks before. It all started to overwhelm me. A tear started to stream down my face. I was at rock bottom. I’m not a quitter, I told myself. But the doubts started to creep in. I put my headphones in and listened to some music which seemed to temper my down mood.

My body started to loosen up and as that happened I saw a nice patch of wildflowers which had been obviously lacking on the trail so far this morning. I stopped to photograph them, but also to remind myself of the low point and that things can and will only get better. I rounded a corner and opened a gate that appeared to separate two fenced paddocks. When I entered this new paddock I was greeted by wildflowers and tall grasses starting to seed. Amazingly my mind was temporarily distracted and forgot about my low mood and ankle pain. All things seemed renewed again. When I realised all this another streamed down my face. Things will be alright, I thought. I am inspired by nature.

The weather was average all day. In the afternoon I started to see the amazing beauty in the high desert cloud forest. Moss covered trees, wildflowers and many new species of trees and shrubs that I had not noticed before. I found if I kept moving my ankle would not protest too much. And keep going I did. By 5pm I started looking for a place to call home for the night. I found a semi flat meadow among cloud covered wildflowers. A perfect place to call it a day, I thought. I was rather shocked when I calculated my mileage for the day, 24.5 miles (39.4 km). Didn’t think I had it in me.


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16 Responses

  1. yogacatie

    Emotional roller coaster is exactly how I feel too! And was almost the title of one of my posts! You’re several miles ahead of me and inspiring me

  2. annmarieford2015

    Brad… You are not alone, you have a crew of followers (including me) who are with you there in spirit. Hang in there and keep “talking” with us. We are listening. 🙂

  3. Mike Darnell

    I really admire your honesty about how you feel as you hike the PCT. So great to see that you keep pushing forward. One front in front of the other as the saying goes. I wonder if you will look back on this day as a turning point. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience.

  4. britrich

    Brad, your willingness to be vulnerable with us, your readers leaves me super inspired and touched, along with all your other fans out there I can see. I had a rather unpleasant end to my day yesterday with an outcome that leaves me monetarily in debt unexpectedly. Feeling low this morning, after reading your post, I’m tearing up too because I realize we are never alone, we will continue to have our ups and downs, trials and tribulations and yet, or outlook and mindset is the most pivotal factor in how everything takes shape. Thanks for your undying optimism and ability to see the beauty even in the most trying times….. You words permeate many different scenarios, well beyond the trail and I’m grateful for your deep work! Here’s to embracing the beauty, being in the present and always stopping to smell the flowers.

    • BikeHikeSafari

      Thanks Brittany. I hope your issues are only temporary, accept the bad times then move forward. I feel blessed that I am able to inspire.

  5. Sally

    I am tearing up too! When I am suffering on the trail next year, I will re-read your blog to keep me going. The desert is tough, but you are tougher Brad. Paul and I are sending positive energy and thoughts to you, during these challenging days.

  6. Steve treagust

    Hi Brad,
    The raw emotion of your posts is stretching across the water to Australia. The wilderness is a tough playground, but nature can be so caring, as you found today. Beauty can be found for those who look.


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