I am at the end of another long day, which included over 10 hours of being on my feet. Today's 22+ mile Section J included some of the softest miles thus far. These miles provided a welcome respite for my feet, ankles, knees and hips. This morning, I walked for a few pleasant miles on the wood chip path known as Veterans Parkway alongside other walkers and joggers. Over the course of the miles, the pounding in my feet departed. I no longer had to caution myself against taking ibuprofen too early in the day. In this fact, I found the answer to my wondering whether the pavement was responsible for the extra foot pain over what I have experienced in the past while hiking long days. When I returned to concrete, it wasn't long before the pounding was back. A number of miles later, the route took me across the beach, minus a concrete path, and down to the ocean itself. I took off my shoes and socks and tentatively stepped into the salt water. Cold! The water provided a cold soak for my feet and a change in my mood. I felt gleeful at being there, right where I was, soaking in the beauty of a southern California beach. I breathed and spoke gratitude, and then kept walking.
Tomorrow will be my last day on this route. I hope to complete section "K," perhaps with a bit of company. I am reminded of my last night on the Pacific Northwest Trail, when I said goodbye to my summer of solo hiking and thought excitedly about each member of my family that would be meeting me the following afternoon. There is a sadness to ending a trail, and a satisfaction as well. It's difficult to relax into the journey while it's happening. I want to know - will I be able to finish. I lie here tonight, spent and weary, at the end of 11 days of pushing myself physically and mentally. At the end of tomorrow I will hope to feel satisfaction. For tonight, I feel gratitude.
|Veterans Parkway walking path|
|Cold sand and water massaged my aching feet|
|Beach Refuse in the intertidal zone in Malaga Cove|
|Unusual stair construction in Palos Verdes|
|Stairs carried me up for views of the the whole LA area|
|Flowers above where surfers were enjoying the waves|
|This is why southern California|
|More soft tread for my feet|
|Sunset & still walking|