"Fare you well, Southern California. Fare you well, my only true one.
Gonna leave this broke down desert.
On my hands and knees, I will roll roll roll."
There are many ways to break down the sections of the 2600+ miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. There are lettered sections, which I haven't a clue about. There are all the hundreds of miles and town stops in between, which I've been loosely basing our progress by. Then there are the big chunks: Southern California (the desert), Central California (the Sierra Nevadas), Northern California (the Southern Cascades), Oregon and Washington.
We are about to get the hell outta this desert.
We will bid a fond farewell to trudging through deep sand and Joshua Tree groves. Goodbye to the thousand ways to pop your inflatable sleeping pads. See ya later skittish lizards and scuttling horny toads. Buh-bye sharp cacti with your papery, delicate flowers. Adios dry scrubby mountains with your switchbacks and your shiny black robo-beetles marching purposefully through the dust. Catch ya later, long waterless stretches of trail with your murky cow pie infested, off-trail springs. Take it easy depressing, blackened burn zones and stinky poisonous Poodle Dog Bush (yes, that's a thing).
The Southern California section was PCT hazing. It was a brutal 700 mile training session for the glorious wilderness that is yet to come. For every mile we schlepped along the California aquaduct and across the endless wind farms and the sweltering Mojave desert, we will earn numerous alpine lakes and soaring snowy peaks. We will no longer need to carry liters and liters of water (at 2.2 lbs per liter). The water flows like wine in the Sierras. Or at least that's what they say.
In hindsight, Southern California was sorta like a bad trip. You don't realize how uncomfortable you are along the way, but once it's nearly over you can look back and laugh. You'll come out a better, stronger person because you conquered those vast desert stretches. You've acquired the strength and confidence to take on the mountains. And you've earned them.
And in the last two weeks, the Sierra Nevadas have gotten more snow than they have all winter (a record low snow year), so we've been executing ultra-supreme dilly-dallying in Lake Isabella (a 37 mile hitch from the trail) with our buddies, lounging on inflatable pool toys at the highway-side motel pool and painting our nails sparkly purple. It's supposed to be a whopping 100 degrees in Kennedy Meadows this weekend, so by the time we get there (only 50 miles from here), hopefully some of that fresh powder has melted and some of the bolder, more hardcore hikers have trampled down our path for us, paving the way up Forester Pass (the PCT's highest point).
Bring on the bear boxes, the micro spikes and the mosquito nets.
"Mama, Mama, many worlds I've come since I first left home."