On the 5th day of my hike, I do 17 difficult miles through a hot and mean section of the Anza-Borrego Desert. I want to make it to Scissors Crossing for some trail magic rumored to be happening under the bridge. Already these small happenings help focus my hiking – giving me a little push. I had no idea I was so reward driven.

For the last 5 midday miles, I all but shut off. I’m zapped, fried, and burned. I become a walkbot. Finally, I can see the highway. I follow beside it wondering whose idea of a joke it was to put all these rocks in the middle of my path.

And then, THE BRIDGE. Scissors Crossing!

Under the bridge is like a hiker refugee camp. It’s grimy and a powder-fine dust blows over everything when cars pass or breezes flutter. But, there is ice-cold coconut lemonade, fresh fruit, and beer courtesy of trail angels, Team Turtle. I sit with Kale and Becca, eat an orange, and sign the hiker log.