Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pine Mountain Trail with the Dames

The cure for pre-PCT jitters turned out to be a two night backpacking trip with the Trail Dames.  Renee and I planned this for right before we fly to San Diego, anticipating that we'd need a distraction.  It was perfect-- fun, great energy, and an overall fabulous time out in the woods.
Photo by Monica.
Renee and I were joined by three other women to "thru-hike" the 23-mile Pine Mountain Trail at FDR State Park in Georgia.  One long-time friend and two others who are new to Trail Dames-- a woman who drove all the way from Florida because she was looking for others who liked to backpack as much as she did, and another woman for whom the PMT is a favorite who heard about the trip through Gossamer Gear.  All were experienced backpackers, and we had a blast talking about trails, geeking out with gear talk, and sharing tales. 
Dogwoods in bloom everywhere.
Jean shows off her huge, lightweight DIY polycro tarp.
The mountains were exploding with spring green.  Trees were just starting to bud out, but there were still views and bright sun through the trees.  Dogwoods and wild azaleas lit up the valleys.  Fireflies danced at night.  Spring wildflowers kept me ooing and ahhing.  I slept to the soft patter of rain on my tarp the last night.  
Yay for big trees!
I was so glad for this trip, and to be surrounded by such beauty and by such fun companions.  Being on the trail, I could be in the moment for the most part.  I tried my best to not stress about PCT gear minutiae or water sources in SoCal.  Though a few times my mind would wander and I would feel the anxiety creep back in.  It messes with my memory- a few times someone would ask the name of a familiar flower, and I would completely blank out.  Monica said she'd never heard me say "I don't know" so often.  I guess this is how I'm responding to all the excitement, but I know it's gonna be fine once I get out there.  
Views across the valley.
Bursting blossoms.

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