I guess this is day six, and it was kind of a tough one. I’m a big bad Jiu Jitsu man, and the feels, well, you can’t choke out sadness or missing your number one lover girl. I sent Jen off at 7 this morning for another five day stint of solo-ish hiking. It was hard to say goodbye, and when I returned to the empty campsite, it was pretty maudlin. I didn’t cry. Nobody saw me shed a tear, so nobody can prove it happened, but it was kind of a lonely experience. I might have sniffled a little, but maybe I’m getting a cold.
On the plus side, I did Jiu Jitsu! First time since Thursday, and well, a three day lay off is hard for me, especially when I’m feeling the feels about other things. I took the recommendation from Alfredo Barum and visited his buddy Joao Carlos Silva. For the record, I had to cut and paste his name. I may have a purple belt in BJJ, but my Portuguese name pronunciation is still white belt spaz. It was really cool. He just opened his new own Ribeiro gym in Carlsbad, about ten minutes from where I’m parked. Really shiny, and well, I kind of pulled a dick move.
See, he’s got a brand new gym, and I’ve been hiking and camping. I thought my feet were clean, but after living in the woods for a few days, your idea of clean is a little off. He was wearing a white gi. He’s going to need some OxyClean! He’s building up his program, and tonight it was just the two of us, working some cool Ribeiro stuff. Awesome! I got tapped out about five times in two rounds with a fifty-five year old brown belt, so it felt like home.
https://www.facebook.com/ribeirojjcarlsbad/?fref=nf for some training, I’m sure hes cleaned the mats of my forest foot.
On Friday, it was time to go check on my PCT hiking woman. Honestly, I was worried that I’d show up, she’d be in tears, ready to quit, hating how hard it was. I drove down a forest road with the dogs and the motorcycle and my concerns for the well being of my wife, found a spot where the trail crossed, and started hiking in.
Let me just say that there are many times when I think I’m going to find the broken, emotionally shattered wreck that was once my beloved Super Jen, and she always disappoints me. I’ll tell you another time about how she scared me on Half Dome by being fearless, or when we hiked Crawlers Ledge on the North Shore of Kauai, and when she didn’t come around the ledge that had scared the shit out of me, I assumed that she was frozen with fear and unable to move. Yeah, right. She was taking selfies. She asked me to come out on the ledge to take a picture. I tartly declined.
Once again, there she was, chugging along smiling and happy and nowhere near an emotional crisis. I sent the dogs up ahead, and they found her first. I found her by the noise of delight as she reunited with the pups.
After five days on her own on the trail, she called her mom. Moms’ first question was “did you quit?” Jen laughed, and I realized I’m not the only one who underestimates her sometimes.
Apparently the challenges presented thus far have fallen into two categories: The first she calls the Game Makers, as in when the Hunger Games designers throw twists at you just to see how you deal. Those were things like getting a ton of blisters from her brand new boots, having her umbrella break, getting a little lost, her compass breaking.
The other category is “Not today Satan!” items. Those are long climbs in the sun, rocky trails, and the mileage. These are things that are part of the trail, but which can break your spirit. She ain’t having it.
She seems to be born to this long hiking, most of the time. Smiling, getting up early to hit the trail, helping out and cheer leading the other hikers. She’s calling herself the trail mom.
I spent a few extra days at camp, and although we hadn’t planned it, the camp lent itself well to a little slackbacking. Jen stayed in the trailer, got up, and hiked with a lighter pack, but she was still going hard. She’s regularly hitting ten miles, and now even more. I hiked a mile with her in the morning, bringing the boys along, and then turned around. For tiny little guys, they do pretty well, but they poop out. Jen took Marley along for a day, and ended up packing him out.
Our buddy Joe!, who was the one who most inspired her, met us in camp, and hiked along with us for a few days. I left them both to come back down to town, and they hiked together for a day. Joe left her at a place called scissors crossing, mile 70. That’s a full day of hiking, and Joe wrapped up his PCT nostalgia tour. Jen hiked another 7 miles, total of 17 for the day. Yes, holy crap is right.