I had 25 miles to go before reaching the symbolic finish line for the 700 mile stretch of Southern California desert. I wanted to arrive by 5 pm so I could pick up the care package my mom sent and possibly buy a few things at the store.
I pushed hard, trying to maintain a 3 mph pace, stopping every hour or two to air my feet out and eat a snack.
The mountains seemed to grow before me, and a storm rolled into the valley.
I saw "thunderbolt and lightning," but not "very, very frightening," because I was hiking through the valley and the storm passed along the ridge line above and beyond me.
I woke up a bit dazed and continued on my merry way.
I reached the road to Kennedy Meadows just in time to see my dear friend MoonBurned, who informed me that she left something for me with the lady behind the counter.
I gave her some matches I'd found 150 miles before and had carried for her knowing she preferred that method for starting her camp stove.
We bid a fond farewell and I sped off to the fabled hiker vortex, where I was greeted by a roar of applause and shouts of "Jungle Jym, Jungle Jym!"
There were 50 or more fellow hikers there, graciously soaking up the graces of the oasis, cheering for each hiker as they arrived.
It felt like a blessed family reunion, with many hugs and stories shared.