'All that you are experiencing now will become moods of future joys. So bless it all.'
Things are starting to feel real as we gear up for the high mountains.
The last 150 miles of the desert were the most mentally challenging of the trail so far for me - climbing up from, and down to, the floor of the Mojave for long days on end. Through everything from near freezing temperatures to flash 105F/41C heatwaves; gale force winds on soft sandy climbs to shadeless, sweltering stillness in waterless Joshua Tree-lined stretches.
Above all though there was an Elephant in the room; it's an uncertain year for the conditions in the Sierra. If the weight of that knowledge doesn't weigh down enough, everybody from other hikers, to trail angels, to locals and just about anyone who has the opportunity to give their two cents - will surely do so. They're either blissfully unaware that their words, well informed or otherwise, have the power to swing the emotions of others who's mentality on this journey can at times rest on a knife edge; or perhaps they find power in that, regardless of the consequence.
Some of the people who have been a big influence on my journey have made the right decision for them - to jump ahead past the Sierra to Northern California, and I'll miss them hugely. Unlike most of my friends, I find myself here a long way from home, with a solid group of people; standing at the gateway to the next part of a dream that was always about living in the moment.
It's in turns terrifying and exhilaratingly anticipated, but what would the trail and this journey be if anything less. I don't plan to return in future years - the time is now and while we can always turn back at any time, we'll always be able to say we were fully in whatever moments present themselves in the course of the pursuit.