Sometimes a hike can seem like a mythological odyssey. The Grand Canyon of the Tuolomne started off normal enough. My co-pilot told me about the human sacrifices that used to happen in Pate Valley in ancient times. Oddly enough, by the time we reached that crossroad, my friend had an old injury that aided his decision to bow out of the hike at Pate Valley. Now, it was just me and Rancheria Mountain, and my first night ever camping alone. How bad could it be? I ran into fresh chewed animal bones, mountain lion prints the ENTIRE trail, bear scat, overgrown thorn bushes, every plane that passed sounded like a growling animal. I ran into gnats, poison oak, a baby rattlesnake, and I got stung by a wasp. The freezing temp coated my rain fly in a sheet of ice, coyotes howled for an hour at 2am, and the overall climb was 5,000 gain, and 5,000 loss. It was as if all of my hiking fears were piled into one challenge: do I want to be a thru hiker or not? Can I handle the outdoors alone? Was it all worth it? The answer.... is yes. Yes it is.