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After packing up my tent and gear, I said goodbye to my new friend Bill in Morongo Valley and headed toward Yucca Valley, 12 miles away.

My dear friend Alice Camille, a well-known and respected Catholic writer, had set up an introduction for me at St. Mary of the Valley church, and although I was disappointed at missing Father Mark Bertelli, I did have a long and wonderful chat with Mary, the long-time administrative assistant at the church. As part of the hospitality they wanted to show their guest, Father Mark offered to put me up at a hotel tonight.

Before I began this journey, I was advised to accept all gifts graciously and gratefully, and I did. Mary offered a hotel in Yucca Valley or one up the road in Joshua Tree. I chose the latter, since it put me closer to tomorrow’s destination, Twentynine Palms. But now I had another 7 miles to walk, and my left knee was not happy about it.

Anyway, the first segment of the walk today, even though uphill, was a delight. Look at the size of the shoulder and compare it to what I had to deal with yesterday. Today it was shoulders on steroids. I also saw some beautiful flowers along the way. (I did not stop at the shooting gallery.)

Big week coming up. Before I head off towards Needles, California early Sunday morning, I’ll be taking an extra day to rest and prepare: Shabbat!

@ Joshua Tree, California

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