Day #34 – May 19th: A storm is moving in and after much debate I decided to stay in Kennedy Meadows for one more night to let the bulk of the snow move past us. It’s currently snowing at 7,000 feet and I’m at 6,300…and its only uphill from here. The group I am planning on summiting Mt. Whitney with is staying at least one more night, so we’re gonna see how it all plays out! I’d much rather be hiking right now, but its better to be safe than sorry. So for right now I’ll just sit here in this hammock in my sleeping bag reading bear attack stories out of a book I found.
Day #35 – May 20th: Have I mentioned how much I dislike being stuck not hiking!!! I had an epic battle in my head of why I am out here doing this. I could never have imagined how hard it is being away from the people I love and care for. It really hit hard today, I was actually contemplating hitching to a bus station and calling it good enough for now. Until those words stuck in my head….. For now… No, I will not stop until I have had my fill for good! Until then I will keep on hiking. The best parts are coming up now, Mt. Whitney and Forester Pass. It is going to be tough but an experience I will always remember. In other news…I visited an alpaca farm today! The owner was in the Kennedy Meadows General Store and he let me ride with him in his Gator for a tour. He is a cool dog that hunts rattlesnakes.
Day #36, 37 & 38 – May 21-23: 40 miles in three days. Not the pace I was hoping for. We got stuck in a little snow storm, so much for blue skies. Trudged up to 10,000 feet through a little more than 2.5 feet of snow. Very pretty but slow going. All along the trail hikers were hunkered down waiting for clear trails. I personally like the snow and cold, but my feet hold a different opinion On that matter…I do not think trail runners were made with snow hiking in mind. On the second night Zippy, Mountain Goat and I made a fire and attempted to dry out our shoes and socks while being dumped on by a wet hail storm. We took stock of our food supplies and the lack of snow gear and decided to make an emergency stop into Lone Pine for resupply. All was agreed upon until a hard core hiker by the name of Dirt Monger came sauntering up. He took stock of the sad picture of three soaked, hungry, cold hikers and asked our plans. After we explained our situation he looked at me with cold steely eyes and in a voice that would inspire legions of mediocre would-be soldiers, announced “This is the PCT. Your feet are going to get wet, you’re going to get cold and you will get hungry” in my mind the challenge was accepted! But, the next morning we woke up to frost covered sleeping bags. Might be time to start packing long johns. Town sounded splendid. Oh well, maybe next time I will man up and push through. But today I will let it play out in town.
Day #39 – May 24th: In Lone Pine I stocked up on more food, gloves and microspikes for snow-walking. We stayed at a hostel last night and got warmed up. Today we’ll head back out on the trail and the day after tomorrow I will head up Mt. Whitney! Perfect weather is forecast for the 26th and I’m so excited! There is another storm coming in 5 days, but we should be Independence by then. Wish me luck!
Day # 7 – April 22nd: I was finally able to convince myself to leave the comforts of Warner Springs and I hiked to last river crossing. I sat down to have dinner and just as I was finishing up I noticed a rustling sound in the leaves. I looked down to see hundreds of huge red and black ants heading my way! I escaped unscathed and continued on until about 8:45 and only getting 9 miles in that day.
Day # 8 – April 23rd: I awoke just knowing I was going to put in my longest day yet. I did not realize it was going to turn out the longest day emotionally and physically as well. Most the day went well, my feet were still hurting but the pain was tollerable. It wasn’t until almost dusk when I stopped to take a break. I took off my backpack and started to lift my shirt when I realized it was stuck to my body. Unknowingly, the area on my hips where my waist belt of my back pack was chaffing had gotten effected and was leaking puss through my shirt…where it had dried and made a bond with my skin and shirt. I decided to tear my shirt away fast versus slow. The pain was so horrible that I threw up immediately after. Once that ordeal was over I could not get my wounds to stop bleeding my only option was duct tape. I continued on for another 20 minutes when out of no where I felt a pop and squish on the bottom front of my left foot and searing pain followed. I had to sit down and take a look. One of the deep blisters blew out and the air and sand that mixed in was causing horrible swelling and pain. I hobbled to the top of a peak and found I had service. That is when a conversation I had with Madison a week earlier replayed in my head. If I ever wanted a cup of coffee she new a family that would be willing to maybe take me in for a bit. She had said they lived close to the next freeway crossing I was coming up to. I quickly said a prayer that one: Madison would answer her phone and two: that those people would be willing to pick me up. Madison did pick up and the next morning a stranger named Dean went completely out of his way to pick me up.
Day 9 – April 24th: I woke up early and hiked the next nine miles to get to the highway where Dean had agreed to pick me up. He needed to go back to work so he quickly opened his house, gave me a tour and told me to call if I needed anything. I showered, rested and recuperated Later his wife Kari texted me and picked up some medical supplies for me. I am still at a loss for words. Here I was ready to quit and needing help and at a drop of a hat these two lovely people welcomed me into their home as if I was family. I stayed until about 4:30 when Dean and Kari drove around the trail detour (a portion of the PCT is currently closed because of a forest fire) to Devils Slide. I flew through the next thirty some miles powered by the kindness I was just shown.
Day # 10 – April 25th: Today I saw my first real rattle snake and took a drink from a water fountain in the middle of no where. I also hit 200 MILES!!! The last five miles to my destination I got caught in a sand storm. Winds almost blowing me over and sand blasting my sun glasses to dust. My destination for the day was a Trail Angel’s home called Ziggy and the Bear where I had my second resupply box waiting for me (Trail Angels are people who live along the trail and lend assistance to PCT hikers). I spent the night there and it poured rain all night so I was glad to be dry under an overhang.
Day #11 – April 26th: Now I climb about 7000 feet. Through a wind farm. I will be out of contact for roughly seven days due to the fact I have no way to charge my phone from this check point to the next. It is cold pretty cold, if I would have come down the mountain a day earlier I would have been hit with snow! Wish me luck and I’ll update again as soon as I can. The next stop, seven days down the trail is a Best Western where I do believe I will get a room for a night and relax 🙂
***See pictures from these adventures under the “photos” tab and see where I am on the map under the “where am I” tab!****
Day #2 – April 17th: Lake Morena to Burnt Ranch Camp – Last night as I camped packed in with about thirty other hikers I couldn’t help but miss Maya. An older couple had their tent pitched about three feet from mine and one of them snored just like Maya. I started the day quite early heading out of camp around 7:30am. At about 10 I took a nice break and aired out my feet. The blisters are coming! I planned on staying in a small camp four miles from Mt. Laguna and planned my water accordingly.
Day #3 – April 18th: Very hot today, but amazing views hiking between lush green mountains and dry brown dead ones. So quiet out here with just my breathing, pattering of my feet and the wind. I passed through many burnt areas and stopped at a small camp to refill water and have lunch. I talked with some hikers that I had seen intermittently on the trail so far. I finally decided to use my solar panel and it didn’t work…thanks Obama. haha Ended up spending the night in a giant meadow.
Day #4 – April 19th: Started the day at 6am and the sun was coming in hot already. I need to get a fire tank before my water runs out. The trail is hot and very rocky…like rocks the size of a fist all over the place. Not great for the ankles. It was so hot coming down scissor crossing, my feet were pressing against my shoes from the swelling making them look like blue sausages. I stumbled under an overpass where there is a water cache and time stopped when I laid down. I woke with a fright like you do when coming out of a nightmare. I stood up to grab a Pepsi only to fall forward because my feet would not support me. Luckily, another a hiker named Dan had arranged a ride to an RV Park four miles down the road. I immediately jumped on that idea and within an hour I was showered and soaking my feet in the pool while my laundry was washing. I was also fed a huge, awesome home-cooked dinner. How quickly things can turn around 🙂
Day #5 – April 20th: I decided to wait until 4pm before hitching a ride back to the trail. The morning was rough…woke up to the bottom of my heels looking like giant plums and my toes looking like prunes. I could barely get my Nike compression pants off. One hour later they had shrunk back to a more manageable size. I soon put two and two together and realized that the strap on the compression pants that wraps around the arch of my foot was cutting off the circulation in my feet. Thanks a lot Nike! I cut them off immediately. (Note about the compression pants…I wear them as I sleep to push the toxins out of my leg muscles so that my legs are less sore. That part is working like a champ, but the foot straps not so much) I started hiking at 4:30. It was still hot and I hiked until dusk and took a short break. Then I put my headlamp on and kept hiking. Two hours later I turned around and told Dan matter-of-factly that I was going to make it to one hundred! Night hiking was exhilarating. I felt like a primal nomad…but also a little gangster at the same time since I was bumping Kanye in my headphones….well as gangster as a white kid from western Washington hiking through the desert night with a little headlamp and trekking poles can feel. I saw giant fireflies, spooked up some deer and saw my first snake! Thankfully, it was a tiny baby rattler. Made mile 100 at 3:07 am and 10 minutes later Dan showed up and we set up camp and passed out around 3:30am.
Day #6 – April 21st: Woke up at 6am and started trekking 15 minutes later. Nine miles to my first resupply! I felt so good and energized that I started jogging! Man, I prefer to jog over walking…I always have! We stopped at Eagle Rock and then made it to my first resupply point, Warner Springs. My felt bad and swollen and I’m worried that an infection is happening inside some of the deeper blisters. I spent the rest of the day going though my resupply box, lounging and making calls.
Day #7 – April 22nd: My feet are really bad. I found a giant bottle of peroxide in the hiker box and poured half of it on my feet and watched the reaction…beautiful…but my feet instantly felt better. Dan and I found a ride to a Big 5 twenty miles away, so we’re going to head out there and grab some stuff for feet and a few other small things we need and then the plan is to start hiking around 4 or 5 this afternoon.
I gave my feet most of the day yesterday (Easter) to heal and rest and then waited for it to cool down a little bit before I hit the trail again. I left the Stage Coach RV Park for the trail at around 4pm and hiked through the night where I hit the 100 mile marker at 3:07am!
I took a little snooze from 3:30am until 6am when I hit the trail again for another 9 miles to my first re-supply point, Warner Springs. The hike to Warner Springs was the most beautiful scenery I have seen so far. Eagle Rock was awesome.
Final run through of food for the trail! Pictured here is about 55 days worth…a little less than half of all the food I’ll need. We’ll be leaving to head to California on Thursday! Getting more and more exciting as it gets closer and closer!