PCT SOBO DAY 61
Mile 1,350.5 Soldier Creek to a random Tentsite at Nobo Mile 1299
Elevation: +4591 ft/ -3384
I’m writing with my keyboard because I don’t have a pen (again). This time it did not run out of ink, I donated my perfectly good (and only) pen to the PCT midpoint marker hiker log. The pen I was using to sign it ran out mid-sentence…so it was only the right thing to do, at least that’s what I think. Tripsy and American Idol left camp about 10 minutes before me and they said they planned on doing a 30. I was planning on 27, max, and as you can see I cut that short by a mile and a half. I’m just not into big miles anymore, I want to preserve the goodness in my body and be strong (and pain free) not only for the Sierras but for the rest of this hike. And as you can see by my title, I am half way. Today I made it to the PCT midpoint. My second visit. I thought the girls would be there when I arrived but they were already gone. I was a little disappointed, not gonna lie, feeling emotional these days. I think it might be hormones, at least that’s my scapegoat for now.Ihad visions of the three of us taking a group photo at the midpoint. But, that’s not gonna happen. I am here alone. Oh well, HYOH right?
After that moment of a little sadness, I adjusted my attitude, chin up, and then was actually glad to be there alone and embraced it. I took my time to remember being there last year, and I looked through the log books, finding entries my friends had scribbled in. But for some reason could not find my own entry in the smattering of little spiral bound note pads and loose pieces of paper. Oh well.
So, I guess I will be solo today. Cool, I’m down with that. I filled out my own entry in the little notebook, writing about my feelings of gratitude to have made it that far. I sat there eating snacks, enjoying the sunlight pouring through the forest, and reflecting on all that I had done to make it to that point. I am so lucky. I am so fortunate. I love my life…. I thought about how if I was doing a Yo-Yo hike (hiking from Mexico to Canada to Mexico in one calendar season) I would be 75% done, and it’s kind of like that, except I took 9 months off between hikes. Pretty amazing though, when you think about it! I wrote in the log book how I started this hike (now just 2 months ago) not knowing whether my body would hold up, what I even could do was a mystery to me. And here I am, I made it half way, and I feel great. I mean great is relative. But I am taking good care of my body, I am still feeling strong, and ready to make it all the way to Mexico!
Shortly after hiking on from the uderstated monument, I rounded a bend and met another hiker, an older man, named Magellan. He was resting on a rock, taking in the views. Today was much cooler in general than it has been, and as such, there were lots of big puffy clouds everywhere, and some that even looked like they were dropping some rain. I smelled the faint scent of smoke this morning too, but it never seemed to amount to anything. I will never think of smoke the same again after having hiked through it for so long. I always remind myself how fortunate I am to even be out here hiking in the smoke, while others are being evacuated from their homes and even loosing everything all together. Still better to be on the trail. Nothing to loose. I know, the life of a thru-hiker is not for everybody. That’s just my way of saying, I am grateful. I am grateful to be out here, period, it is a privilege to walk amongst theese old growth trees with their electric green moss stuck all along their lengthy sides.
I stopped at a trail junction for an early lunch because I was starving after 2,000ft of climbing that morning. I made hot tea and it was delightful. I started to meditate and then kept hearing what I thought were footsteps. They amounted to nada. My imagination? I was quite shy on water after that and had to make it 2.5 miles to a spring that was .3 miles off trail, waaaaay downhill. I had no choice but to go fetch the water, so off I went. It was about a 6 minute walk, and when I found the water, it was clear, pure and just enough of a trickle to fill a bottle easily. I walked back up lazily, feeling heavy and tired. Did I not just have a cup of tea and espresso chocolate? Come on caffeine, work!
I filtered the water and set off again. By then it was 2:30pm and I still had like 17 miles to go, yikes! I pushed a little bit but then the scenery kept getting more nad more beautiful so I kept stopping to take photos. It was super windy up along a ridge and I got chilled. Then I was climbing and got sweaty again. Never quite sure what to be wearing. I passed the Butte/Cub high point lookout which displays the divide in all it’s splendor. Great views and excellent clouds gave way to miles of forested mountains in the distance and glowing yellow sage brush flowers set amongst black lava rocks in my immediate vicinity.
By 4:30 I was feeling sort of nauseas and gassy, burpy, not good at all. I felt my energy draining but could not seem to even drink much water. Had the altitude affected me or did I just eat way too much nut butter? Finally along a steep climb, which I was pushing hard to get up, I had to let the gas out, and boy did I let it out, it’s like you just have to, there is no choice, and I felt sooooo much better like immediately and I laughed at the whole situation. What the heck? So odd, so odd what the body goes through every day out here, welcome to thru-hiking.
I pushed up the rest of that climb more easily after the gas explosion, and eventually reached a flat area at a trail junction where I took a shorty break in the golden light of early evening. As I walked across a flat section, I started to recognize where I was. It’s so funny how this happens, I will just be walking along, and suddenly turn a corner, and recognize a place, and the memories come rolling in. This one was really fun, because there were these signs on trees that notated the destinations of Canada or Mexico. I remembered how last year, Prince and I were laughing and saying when we got there “let’s just turn around and go back to Mexico, and sit on ‘the wall’ and drink (what we then called) Murigas”, and we said it in a very flat, Eeyore sort of voice. We had a lot of giggles over this later on, and whenever the trail got tough, we would say it again and laugh. I took a photo at the sign and thought of those times, thought of Prince and Mama Lion and Boone, and missed the companionship. But my heart was warmed by the memories.
I pushed on and soon it was 5:30 and I had to make a decision about how far I was going to hike into the night. I messaged Tripsy as I ate a super greens energy bar and drank some water. I decided I would stop at the next water source, fill up, and then hike until 7:30, just before getting dark, and dry camp. Pushing on, I ran into another Nobo named Owl, who I stopped and talked with for a few minutes. He was from San Diego, and was really nice. He had a good energy about him and I wished we were going the same direction. These brief interludes in the forest are just that, fleeting crossings of paths of two humans in the middle of the wilderness, ang we move on. Have a good hike, Owl!
I soon reached the beautiful clean, cold water that poured into a trough, did a quick fill-up of 2 liters, and kept going, watching the horizon turn darker and darker. My legs were happy with the energy bar I gave them though, and I was pushing and hiking well into the night. As the sun set, I started to look for campsites, eventually needing to get my headlamp ready. But I made it to a flat, somewhat exposed site amongst an old clear cut area that had re-grown, just before darkness surrounded me. It’s really really quiet here, no sound of water, no crickets, no animals, not even wind. Just silence. Just stillness and now the little clicking of my keyboard. There are four cut logs in the tent site surrounding me, which I could use as chairs if I had company and a fire. But I don’t. Just across the trail are some stones that are messily arranged, looking like they once made something, and then I realized, I just passed the 1,300 mile marker only 0.1 of a mile ago. This would have to suffice. 1,300 miles to go!
After eating my dinner, I got a message from Tripsy, they are camped about 4 miles ahead of me, I hope I will see them tomorrow in Belden. I may miss them, who knows. I do enjoy being solo, but I also miss my friends. I hike at a different pace, on a different schedule, and that puts me just a bit behind them. Then there is the rest of our group behind me, since they went to Chester last night. I am sure they will catch me soon and it will be fun to all be back together again. My left ankle started hurting just in the last mile tonight, I was carrying 4lbs of water and my body felt the extra weight. But my legs feel really strong, I tell ya, and I am proud of that. It’s cold now, I had to safety pin my tent screen up to try and keep it warmer, and also keep the mice out, since there was another one in my tent last night, seriously! What is with the mice this year? I hate them.
Well, time to get warm, nestle in. I am getting an early start tomorrow so I can make it to Belden and eat hot food cooked by other people! Time to go back to Mexico, sit on the wall, and drink Murigas…..I miss you Prince!