It's hard to believe we are entering our third month on the trail, with less than 1000 miles to go. This life feels normal now. As we pause for a moment to take it all in, one thing is for sure - we are not in Oregon anymore. The days of endless forests and copious amounts of sunlight are over, exchanged for rugged climbs and long periods of darkness. We've reached the Sierras, and fall has come.
Our first few days in the Sierras, following a respite in South Lake Tahoe, offered us majestic and long-awaited scenery. The dramatic views were matched by dramatic weather - wind so strong we were derailed with every gust, cold nights and cloud covered days.
We wake in the dark and walk with our head lamps for an hour before breakfast, eating oatmeal as the sun peaks over the mountain tops, inching warmth onto the rocky cliffs. Then we climb and descend. Up and down we go, fighting winds with every step. The higher we go, the stronger the wind. So strong at times that our trekking poles are forced sideways and our feet land inches away from where we intended.
The wind blows in clouds and light rain. We walk to stay warm, eat dinner before the sun goes down, walk some more, then set up the tent and take refuge. Being out here so long, through the light and dark, hot and cold, the dry and the wet, we gain an intimate understanding of the power of nature. It's not all flowers and sunshine. Sometimes it's turmoil. Sometimes it demands more from you than you think you're capable of. This raw connection to nature connects us with life. The mountains and the weather are simply a reflection of ourselves. It's not easy, but it's always beautiful.
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