I feel like I'm home, even if home has been a big city most my life. The oak trees and rattlesnakes are comforting... reminds me of the grandparents old getaway in Rescue, CA. And then there's the high desert hiking... scorching hot days followed up by crystal clear freezing nights. Yes! This is the California I love so much!
Burney Falls was my next stop... I knew it would be difficult, but jeeze louise, my emotions were in full swing. You see, when I first moved back to the states from Colombia in 2011, mom, step-mom, beautiful sister and Mr. Gibbs (the German Shepard) went on our first and only family road trip. Burney Falls was the last stop. Mom was too ill and fatigued to walk much, but she still slowly made it around the loop. Laura pointed out the sign to me: Pacific Crest Trail -> 0.2 miles. She reminded me that I would be here again one day. It was such a distant thought back then. Here I was, some three years later, making that dream come true. So many feelings rushed through me: grief, sorrow, joy, accomplishment, pride, disbelief. Sometimes I have a hard time realizing that I'm actually here, hiking across country alone. It feels good having this grand goal and slowly make it a reality. But it's difficult, too. A good kind of struggle. The best kind of struggle. People often ask why I decided to hike southbound and my reply has always been, I'm looking for solitude and struggle. Two beautiful things I have, indeed.
I miss you, Momma, more now than ever. But I'm ok. Stronger than I've ever been. I know you would be proud.