I woke up yesterday before it was light, teetering between elation and nerves. My hike begins in 3 weeks, and it all of a sudden seems so CLOSE.

I made mental lists for an hour, laying in bed, wishing I was still asleep … wishing I was already on the trail, all of the planning behind me. One foot in front of the other, that’s all I will have to do. That and know where the next water source is going to be, and to find shade for those long mid-day rests.

Enjoying nature. Enjoying the desert.

Three weeks from today it will be my second day hiking in the desert. Ever. It will be hot, and there will be tarantulas, scorpions and snakes (rattlers!) – sometimes 30+ miles between water sources; cacti, poodle-dog bush and hot, hot sun … But I’ll be on the trail.

On the trail!

A lot of people dread the desert for the aforementioned reasons. Doesn’t sound like a walk in the park, does it? But, I’ll let you in on a little secret: This girl, the one who used to be paralyzed with fear when encountering a common household spider, is really looking forward to the desert experience!

(Apparently there are glow in the dark spiders as well … gross, but COOL!!)

Really, I’m excited! It’s the unknown landscape, and I can’t wait to explore it all, challenging myself every chance I get.

Most hikers stick by the rule of “10 by 10,” which is hiking 10 miles before 10am, resting for the next 6 or so hours while the heat of the day wanes, and then hiking into the night. I can dig this method, and love the idea of hot naps in the desert sand with creepy crawlies doing their creepy crawly thing around me. From the sounds of it, all hikers tend to rest together in the same places, because shade is scarce (This is often under bridges. How hobo of hikers). This means that there will be a pile of stinky hikers under the same shade of the same cactus – every time it shifts, we all follow it diligently; rationing sips of water and pieces of melted trail mix, trying to keep those feet from feeling the brunt of the miles being put on them.

It also sounds completely dreamy to hike through the desert at night, under the stars. That alone makes up for the idea of hours of body contortion, trying to emulate the shadows cast by random cacti.

20 days-Nothing can stop me now!!!!!