Saturday, October 5, 2013

PCT Mile 1124 - Thirty miles to go.

What a day today was. I have never walked as far in a single day as today. I lost the telephone network for most of the day except for a short period at the top of Dicks pass.

The morning consisted of hiking through that part of Desolation Wilderness that doesn't match it's name. Actually most of it doesn't match it's name except for Aloha lake which looks like it was bombed and destroyed. However, that didn't keep people from camping there. Of all of the beautiful places in Desolation it was surprising to me how many I saw camping there.

I past quite a few people on the trail. There were two older gentlemen I met who were taking the same trip as I was except they were taking three extra days to do it. They are hoping to finish on Wednesday. I wonder if they know the forecast call for rain on Wednesday.

When I got to the top of Dicks pass I met a guy named Dan. We chatted for a few minutes. He said he and his son were climbing Dicks peak and that his son was behind him coming up the switchbacks. After saying our goodbyes he said that his son's name was Josh and if I saw him to tell him that his dad was waiting at the top. As I was descending the trail I came around the corner and saw a teenage kid climbing towards me. I said, "Hey Josh, what are you doing here?, how have you been?" He stopped and starred trying to figure out who I was. As I zipped down the trail past him I told his dad was waiting for him at the top.

After lunch I did one of the bonehead things that I seem to do more often than I would like to admit. Somehow I missed the trail and found myself lost. I had left the straight and narrow. I was distracted and going down the wrong path. I tried to find the trail without thinking too much, assuming I knew where I lost it and what I did wrong. I kept backtracking around in circles until I finally stopped and looked at the map. I checked my coordinates with the GPS and determined where I was and where the trail was. Ironically I had found the trail earlier and was walking the wrong way on it when I decided it wasn't really the trail I was looking for. Anyway, after about thirty minutes of wandering I was back on the trail. Unfortunately, I had missed my water refill point and was desperately low on water. Because of my tight schedule and my stupid wandering, I was behind where I needed to be. I checked to see the next water and found it to be another eight miles. Let me tell you, that was the longest eight miles of the whole day. It felt like I would never get there. I know what it is like to get dehydrated, and I could feel my muscles cramping from lack of energy. I had food in my pocket but didn't dare eat it as it would just make me more thirsty. 

I finally arrived at the lake and filled up with one hundred liters, then I continued hiking for another twenty minutes while Aqua Mira performed its magic. My alarm went off to the tune of O Fortuna from the movie Excalibur, a truly epic song for a truly epic moment. I hiked on the dark, finally arriving were I planned on being tonight. Gosh, I'm tired...

... some time later. There is a creaking noise out there in the dark. I am pretty certain it is a tree blowing in the wind. But it sure is eerie being out in the dark alone. It is one thing to trust your life to Christ when your are safely ensconced in your home with locking doors. It's quite another thing to be exposed and vulnerable in the woods by yourself.

After hiking from sunup to sun down I am only half way back to the car. Well, that's the good news, I actually made the full thirty mile day. The big question on everybody's lips, can I do it again tomorrow?

The view from my first camp was Heavenly.
Breaking camp

Bear poop, no bells!

Sunrise at Echo lake
Fellow PCT hiker

Charging my iPhone at Dick's Pass

Yay! 100 ounces of water!

First sun!

Last light of the day.

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