Dawn. The Mojave Desert. I woke overwhelmed with gratitude for where I was and how I felt. I was cowboy camping on the only flat spot not covered with manzanitas or needle-leafed yucca plants above a canyon whose name I forgot near mile three hundred and forty of the Pacific Crest Trail. I had been hiking for a little over a month and was finally starting to get into Trail-shape. Yesterday had been the first time I had hiked over twenty miles, yet my body felt pretty good; great even. Wait, scratch that, I could still feel the dull throb around my crotch where the desert air had caused chaffing. Normally when I hiked long distances the chaffing stopped after a few days-not here. I smiled. Thru-hiking was the only endeavor where I could think “I hope this doesn’t cause permanent crotch scars” and not think of quitting. I was one month into a six month trek from Mexico to Canada and, even with the chaffing of my delicates, I was having the time of my life.

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