I woke up to sound of trickling water on my last full day in California.
I slept peacefully behind the water tough, and my body felt strong from the half gallon tub of ice cream I indulged in last afternoon.
I climbed more than a vertical mile in the sweltering heat, a fitting conclusion to the state in which I climbed over 300,000 vertical feet along the often fully exposed trail.
It's been a magnificent ride.
And hard to imagine that such a place exists and is preserved for all to enjoy.
I feel blessed to have this opportunity to experience such incredible heights.
I relaxed in the shade with a couple of southbounders who I found huddled under a tree, and then moved back into the heat of the sun, grateful for the company and rest.
I hiked into the setting sun and found a nice flat spot on top of the ridge and watched the sky colors change and fade away.
I leaned back from a restful, seated position and upon reaching the ground, felt a sharp pain accompany my next breath and those that followed.
It's easy to remember my nightly prayers when something feels amiss.
I eventually fell asleep with the calming reminder that no matter what the outcome, I have lived a blessed life that has opened my heart to love myself and others in increasingly powerful ways.
I fell asleep with the reminder that with all its ups and downs, life is such a profound and delicate gift.
It has consistently offered me lessons to learn and opportunities to grow, and as soon as I feel like I've got it figured out, I'm swiftly and sometimes painfully reminded of how vulnerable and dependent I am.
On the eve of accomplishing a feat of seemingly epic proportions, I fell asleep hoping to see the sun rise again, but uncertain if I would.