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PCT 2018 Days 43-56

Day 43

Miles: 17 to mile 583

Health: My insoles are a fail, so my feet hurt.

Currently reading: Tale As Old As Time & James

We slept until 7am, ate some breakfast, and packed our new bags. We new we couldn’t get a ride to the trailhead until at least 9, so we were in no rush. It was hard to leave.

We went to Wit’s End which is a hiker friendly stop and they help you get rides and pick up packages etc. We ran into Rocket, Alyssa, and Wind Farm while there. We waited for about and hour until we got a ride from, turns out, the same man who gave us a ride randomly from the post office two days before. He was listening to the Christian radio station so I’m going to assume he’s a believer, which is always nice to come upon.

We didn’t start the trail until maybe 10:30 which meant it was hot already and we had no cover. I started out so fast, I was feeling great! But I soon lost all energy and went back to my usual passable but slow pace. We stopped for lunch at 1:00. This is our first week trying to stop for actual lunches. Previously, we have just snacked all day, but we wanted to see if we will like taking a longer break with designated food.

Today was a lot of uphill and we’re back to being at over 5,000ft. Were also on what is known as the “driest section of the PCT” which means we have big water carries. Between that and trying to make it all the way to Kennedy Meadows without resupply (7.5 days of food) our bags are very heavy. I’m glad I have a bigger bag now.

We camped with a few people we hadn’t met yet at a water source and fell asleep to the happiest bullfrog on the planet.

Days 44-47

Miles: To mile 651

Health: Feeling well, actually

Currently reading: As Old As Time & Roar & James & Jude

***My other entries got deleted accidentally so I’m going to try and recount as much as I can.***

The new backpack is working out well, but it is an adjustment. My hips are bruising because my old pack was not sitting correctly and now I have to readjust to a properly fitting pack. But at least the weight is off my shoulders.

I had some hard days starting out. I was feeling very negative but knew that good days must be right around the corner.

We had a 1,000 foot ascent through deep, thick sand that we all agreed was the hardest climb we’ve had all trail.

The wind has been a beast. I hate wind. Wind is the worst thing God ever invented. It’s worse than spiders, worse than vegimite, even worse than Del Taco fans. I’m not talking a breeze. The PCT has nasty 65mph winds that make walking, setting up camp, and even pure enjoyment impossible. It’s a result of the fall. Along with childbirth, it’s my major bone to pick with Adam and Eve. It ruined more than one day but especially when we tried to camp after walking for 21 miles. We camped under some joshua trees and Mother Hen’s tent literally blew away. I just screamed. I wasn’t much help. The night was rough. Bonus story, I pulled up a weed while clearing my tent site and a huge lizard ran out from under the sand, very miffed that I had disturbed him.

We’ve met a whole new crew of hikers including Dreamer, Rocky, and Bipolar.

We had planned to go straight to Kennedy Meadows but changed our plans because it seems the Sierras are still very snow packed and we don’t need to be in a rush. We decided to stop in Lake Isabella for a night or two to shower and do laundry. There is a nice RV Park we can stay at for $10 a night.

The views have been absolutely gorgeous. We are finally making our way out of the desert and it’s really cool to see how the landscape is changing. There are so many wildflowers. We keep walking through areas packed with Lupines. I love them! We can also finally see the Sierras! Wow! That was a surreal moment. I can’t believe we are so close to Kennedy Meadows, that is a major landmark for Thru-hikers.

We completed the newly invented (by me) “Rapunzel Challenge”. The challenger involved hiking with your hair down the whole day. If you have short hair don’t even try to understand why this is consists challenged. It turned out to not be quite as awful as I had thought. I didn’t use any sunscreen because I thought my hair would stick to my face and now I’m burned, so that sucks. I actually had a pretty good hair day and we were even told how clean we looked when we stumbled into town.

We made it down to Walker Pass and officially out of the “driest section of the PCT.” The hitch to Lake Isabella is notoriously difficult but we finally got a ride from a nice guy named Jeff who is a park ranger. I kinda want to be a park ranger now. On the way into Isabella I saw a Taco Bell and convinced our new hiker friend from Switzerland, Bipolar, to try Taco Bell for the first time. He liked it.

We showered and set up camp. We’re planning to nero or zero tomorrow.

Day 48

Miles: 0

Health: Nothing to complain about

Currently reading: No reading today

A group of loud idiots kept us all awake until after midnight. The the sun comes up at six, which means not a lot of sleep was gotten. It was also hit last night! My first night of being hot! I relished it, because I probably will never get that again.

We did our laundry this morning and went out to Nilda’s Diner for lunch. It was a two mile walk but they had highly recommended milkshakes. Over 100 flavors. It was dang good. Along with the burger, fries, and cole slaw we both got.

We went to Rite-Aid so I could get new insoles for my shoes and then to Vons to do a bit of resupply. The rest of the day was spent chilling and eating. I tried to pet each and every dog I could around the RV Park. We stayed up kinda late all talking about travel and the USA.

Day 49

Miles: 20.8

Health: Couple of blisters but nothing major.

Currently reading: Once Upon a Dream & Jude

We got up at 3:30am so we could pack up and catch a bus to the trailhead at 5:20. There were six of us going out. The bus was handy but I, and a few others, got really car sick and had to take a breather before hitting the trail. We had a lot of elevation to gain today which meant a whole heck of a lot of up hill.

We had our sights set on a campsite almost 21 miles away but we had no idea the hardest climb of the day would be at the end. We were also carrying 3.5 liters of water. I about collapsed into my tent once it was set up. Last night we were sleeping at 2,000ft and were hot, now we’re above 7,000ft and it’s gonna be a cold night. I don’t know how I going to survive the 10,000ft+ nights in the Sierra.

Not much happened today besides just walking a lot. Although we did see a mysterious big fire in the distance. I wonder what that was about?

Day 50

Miles: 20.7 to mile 693

Health: Sore, but good.

Currently reading: Once Upon a Dream & Jude

Day 50, wow. It’s crazy that we’ve been out here for over a month and a half now. It’s still physically challenging for sure but the rest is really feeling normal. Tomorrow we will arrive in Kennedy Meadows. That is so crazy to think about and honestly I wasn’t ever sure I would make it this far, so I am just grateful. I was so scared I would get injured and not be able to hike, but I think our slow pace has paid off. Way, way back before we started I jokingly thought hat if we arrived in Kennedy Meadows right about June 1st that would be perfect timing. Well, with no purposeful planning since, we will truly be walking into Kennedy Meadows on June 1st. Score!

Today was a good day. We rolled out of camp about 7:00 and were met with mountainous views and fierce wind. The terrain was fairly even and none of the ups or downs were to steep. The whole day was pretty much like that. It really looks like we’re finally out of the desert.

We got a crazy view of the snow capped Sierras today which was both daunting and electrifying.

We’re hiking with a whole new crew right now, Codex, Moses, Slingshot and others. It’s pretty cool to get to know new people since we’ve been in the same bubble for so long, although nothing against that old bubble!

We are camped in a gorgeous meadow, this may be my favorite site yet. Well, it’s tied with the stream from mile 187. We all sat around in a circle and chatted about life before and after the hike and post-hike depression.

Let’s talk feet. Feet are super gross on trail. I’ve had so many blisters that my feet look like they could get a walk on role on The Walking Dead. I have one toenail that turned purple early on but has never really changed. It’s still dark and I’m afraid I still may lose it. I have a callus that is a hardened mohawk on my baby toe. It all just looks appetizing.

Day 51

Miles: 9 to mile 702

Health: As a horse

Currently reading: Once Upon A Dream & Nahum

We made it to Kennedy Meadows! Wow! I have been thinking and dreaming of this day for so long and it finally happened. Now, to start freaking out over the Sierras.

We had planned to have a lazy morning because we had less than 10 miles to get to KM, but I awoke before 6am and was cold so I left a bit before Mother Hen. I knew I wanted to go slowly and take lots of photos. I did just that. We had planned to meet at the Kern River (a real river, like with water! We’re clearly heading out of the desert!) But Mother Hen couldn’t find me, and we wasted a good 45 minutes trying to reconnect.

Once we hit the 700 mile marker we knew we were close. Today was ironically one of the hottest days we have had yet, a guy even got heat stroke. Way to send us off into the snowy mountains Mother Nature.

After a half mile road walk we stumbled into the General Store. I had heard that people usually clap as you arrive and I was sadly disappointed that we received no applause. We just walked through an entire desert! Unfortunately, I think we just hit it at the worst time, noon. The hikers were all either at lunch or had already hiked out for the day so there were very few people. Later on a few of our friends clapped for us post-arrival when we told them no one had clapped earlier.

We got drinks and candy from the store and set up our tents. We then started to walk down to Triple Crown Outfitters and Grumpy Bears Restaurant with Slingshot (or Q) and were picked up by Grumpy Bears’s father. He was a character.

We resupplied at Triple Crown. I needed gloves badly for the mountains but sadly they only had one option. Expensive and not super warm, but highly recommended by the owner. I hope they’re good. We got to meet THE Yogi. She seemed nice and gave us some good advice. She gave me hope about not being so cold in the Sierras, but sadly I don’t know if I believe it.

We split a 16” pizza and two milkshakes for lunch. The pizza was only ok.

When we got back we chatted with people, snuggled doggos, and booked a hotel in Lone Pine. We ran into Mike and Rocky and Pat and Scoop and lots of others we hadn’t seen for a hot second.

The port-a-potties have witchcraft upon them and actually don’t smell here. It’s unbelievable.

We have three days to get to Lone Pine and then a 9-10 day stretch into the Sierras. Crazy.

Day 52

Miles: 18

Health: My ankle is a bit sore but nothing a good nights sleep won’t fix.

Currently reading: Once Upon a Dream & Hunter & Nahum

Today was my favorite day on trail yet! It was such a gorgeous beyond belief day and it’s only day one in the Sierras!

We packed up and left Kennedy Meadows around 7am. It felt so weird to be leaving. I had been so focused on getting THERE that now I feel a bit lost without it.

We walked through the actual Kennedy Meadow which was lovely. We stopped to take lots of photos and generally just talked about life. I was able to keep up with KP because we weren’t going uphill yet.

On the way to where we had planned to meet for lunch I met a guy doing trail maintenance. He said he does work all up and down the trail and swears that he’s seen me before. The maintenance men had four mules with them who apparently like to kick people. I had to squeeze by them talking sweetly and patting them in order to not get a good to the chest. While eating lunch we got to see them cut down a tree, it was very exciting.

It’s awesome to have water all around now. We passed by so many creeks which meant we didn’t really have to carry more than 1-2 liters of water. Although the creeks made me have to pee a lot. Bathroom on trail is a different beast than in real life. Especially as a girl, sometimes you go miles without a good place to answer nature’s call. It sucks. I feel like I constantly need to pee. I’m like a pregnant woman. TMI?

We stopped at Monache Meadow which was truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. There was a blog I followed of a thruhiker last year and I remember vividly his description of this meadow. I have been excited t get there since and boy it didn’t disappoint. A river ran through the meadow surrounded by hills. Under the bridge that crossed the river were hundreds of swallows. We sat there for a long time watching the birds, snake, and chipmunk living their best life. If I was an animal, this is where I’d live. Heck, I want my tiny house mansion in heaven to be in a place like that.

Slingshot, Snake, Spooked, Ms Frizzle, Napoleon and a few others soon joined us and we had a grand old break time.

Mother Hen and I hiked on for about four more miles and made camp by Cow Creek. It is so amazing to be surrounded by trees. I haven’t spent as much time in the woods since I’ve grown up in hot places so this is a treat. I think I’m going to love the Sierras.

This creek is gonna make me have to pee all night. We’re above 9,000ft so it’s going to be cold! I hope no beats show up, we don’t get our canisters until Lone Pine!

Day 53

Miles: 19

Health: New blister! Yay!

Currently reading: Hunter & Nahum

It actually wasn’t that cold last night. Also, no bear got our food. So that’s a win. Today was filled with lovely views, but was otherwise a bit uneventful.

We got a great panoramic view of the High Sierras and a awesome but daunting look at Mount Whitney. Only a few more days and we’ll be on top of that. Only a few more days and we’ll be living in those mountains. I think the snow has calmed down now, so I feel like we’ll be hitting it at a good time.

The altitude is a bit intense. I haven’t gotten any altitude sickness or anything but I definitely feel more sluggish and a bit light headed at times. The highest I’ve ever been was Mt Fuji at over 12,000ft, but Whitney is 14,000+ so that’ll be interesting. At least we get to slackpack it.

We hiked around the same bubble of people. I like this group, although we’ll probably never see each other after Lone Pine.

There are loads of super bold chipmunks around here. They are so cute but super aggressive towards food. There are also so many ants I can’t really even process it.

I got to see a dog on trail today which made my day. A couple is Thru hiking with their dog, so I got a wee snuggle in.

We’re camping at over 10,000ft for the first time tonight which is what we’ll average in the High Sierra. I’ll let you know how cold I am tonight.

Day 54

Miles: 8ish into Lone Pine

Health: Feeling good

Currently reading: Hunter & Nahum

Well, this day went from kinda sucky to down right frustrating.

We left camp and had a short six mile walk to where we would get off trail to go into Lone Pine. I still can’t get over how gorgeous this place is. Post card gorgeous.

Lone Pine had resupply boxes for us to pick up and we planned to zero there before setting off on an intense 10 day nonstop hike through the High Sierra.

We had heard that the hitch was difficult here but truly had no idea until we got to he campground and not a soul was around. Lone Pine was 22 miles down 6,000ft of unprotected road walk. Oh, and I was out of food and had half a liter of water. We needed a hitch. We had no cell signal. We began to panic.

We decided to begin walking down the road until maybe Mother Hen would get a signal. She had at&t which has way more luck than my Sprint. Luckily, she got a signal a ways down and we called the hostel we had reservations at and asked if the could come pick us up. They gave us a number of a guy who would do it at a crazy price, but we really needed it so we split it with a few other hikers. The guy rubbed me the wrong way, but whatever, we made it in one piece.

We got to the hostel and took showers. We headed to the post office only to find out that one of my boxes is lost. It was meant to arrive a week ago but has not been updated for a week on its tracking. It has all my food, ice axe, and a few bits of gear. I almost lost my cool in the post office. What am I going to do? I’m going to sleep and pray about it and then probably have to do without. I’m really down right now, but we can’t stay in Lone Pine for a box that may never arrive. We will probably end up staying one extra day, but then get back out there.

The rest of the evening was spent eating Mexican food, then ice cream, then chilling out on beds. I hope tomorrow is a better day.

Day 55 – 56

Miles: 0

Health: Good

Currently reading: No reading today

These two days were spent in Lone Pine. We decided to extend our stay one day just in case my box magically arrived. It didn’t.

My mum got a knock on her door to a postman who told her that he had a very strange box for her with only a return address on it. It was my missing box. The box had a stamp from Los Angeles but was never scanned there, so apparently when it arrived there the address to Lone Pine got ripped off.

Since my food was in the missing box I had to do a full resupply at the Lone Pine market which was both disappointing and expensive. It’s going to be an interesting few days.

We also visited the Film History Museum in town. Many old westerns were filmed in the Alabama Hills just three miles outside of town. The museum had lots of old props and memorabilia from those films. Also, did you know that they made 66 films with the character Hopalong Cassidy? Sixty-six! Also, in A New Hope, the Jawas carrying R2D2 were actually 1st graders from Death Valley elementary school? The more you know.

We went all over creation looking for gaiters, ice axes, birthday crowns, and insoles. We found none, well none worth buying. Oz is going to have to go without my shiny red gaiters for a few weeks as they were in my lost box. I did end up buying a new ice axe which I swapped with Mother Hen’s because hers was a bit short for her and my new one was to long.

We have decided not to try and push ten days nonstop to Red’s Meadow. With the passes I just don’t think we can do it since you can basically just do one pass a day before you’re post-holing your brains out. So we’re going to stop at Independence, where we mailed our extra food. That way we’ll break it up to about 4 days and 7 days worth of food carries.

I’m so excited to get back out there and tackle Whitney, Forester Pass and others. I’ll be having my birthday in this stretch. It’s shaping up to be one to remember.

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