Friday, August 29, 2014

The rest of our PCT trip- In Journal Entries

Peter and I have been off the trail for a month now. Although relaxing, having regular showers and eating good food is enjoyable, we’re both longing to be uncomfortable. Somehow we enjoy the discomforts of long trail days, dirty legs, aching bodies, and less than ideal food. It’s the simple life and it’s oh so good!

I am quite behind on blogging for this hike and instead of trying to recap every single detail, I am going to share with you snippets of my ‘Journal’. I didn’t bring a pen and paper (luxury items) but I did bring my iPhone and used the wonderful notes section to jot down the days occurrences. Unfortunately, I always wrote at the end of the day (tucked away in my sleeping bag and half asleep) so the details are pretty broad and the grammar is awful. I had a good chuckle reading through them yesterday. I wrote them here exactly as they were written on my phone.

This was a crazy windy climb
Day 18: 30 miles. Hard to get up today! Didn`t start walking until 6:30am. My Thermarest didn`t leak so that was great! Ran into `Victoria` (early b) and hiked over the pass with him. I'm still under the weather today. Rest of the day was easy and pretty flat and uneventful to Tuolomne store. Post office was closed but they gave us our boxes!! We had burgers (me veggie) outside that were awesome! We both bought some wraps, cheese, and salami. Packs feel so heavy now! I'm sure I'm carrying way more than I need. O well! We're sitting now waiting for our meal to rehydrate. It takes longer at elevation. It's cold out! Then a few more miles...look forward to bed. Left foot still has some sores :( A guy stopped to give both of us $2 American bill.It's his way of giving back to the hikers. He did the trail 35 years ago and now he hikes the JMT (last 9 years) and give out the bills! What a guy!!! I gave him my toonie in return. 

A great water cache just after Hat Creek
Day 21: 35 miles BIGGEST mileage day yet! We are trying to bank extra miles so we can get to the Echo Lake post office that's only open 11-2pm on Friday. Worst sleep ever last night. It was so windy. God awful and cold. Plus the tent was on an awkward slant :( I slept in all my warm clothes and was still cold. We walked 10 or so miles to the highway. Crossed it then went up a 1000ft or so. Beautiful new landscape. Saw our first hiker of the day at the top "Crusher". Then had to navigate through snow to the bottom. Then another 800ft climb that I hammered b/c it was just before lunch. Yum lunch. Saw the army guy from a while back and met 2 new hikers 'Almost Awesome' and 'Possum'. Then we had a nice downhill trend for a while. Finally it was dinner and my legs (hammies) were sore and my left Peroneal muscle. I wanted to stop but got motivated into going up to the saddle and felt good an am glad we banked the extra miles. Weird only seeing 4 people all day!

Day 22: 33 miles. Now only 15.5 miles tomorrow. We will be able to get to the post office now before it closes at 2pm. I slept well but it was cold. I think I slept in my Uplink jacket. We did our typical 17 miles in 6 hours before lunch. Beautiful scenery today again! Stunning colors. Deep purples. Sunny Day and finally hot enough to rock a t-shirt by 7am! There was more climbing today than I thought but not long climbs. Super windy in the afternoon. We didn't see a single PCT hiker today. That's a first. Tons of day hikers though. We crossed a couple highways. Opposite things were sore instead of the usual. We may take a rest day in Lake Tahoe. Would be cool to see what it's like there. We are literally camped just off the hwy. I can hear cars!

Day 28: 10 miles. Rolled into Sierra City around 920am after washing off in the river, which we thought was the watering hole. We went straight to The Red Moose for breakfast. An old couple (70 yrs) run the place (although it's for sale) and the breakfast was delicious! I can't believe how good the sausages have been in the US and how any times I've ordered them. Lot's of coffee refills :) I paid $5 for a shower and they did our laundry for free!!! Made some new trail friends 'Patches' and D.C' and then went to the store to get our package but it wasn't there so we had to stay the night. We just chilled out and ate lunch from the store deli which was awesome. Another day of eating lots and having drinks. Had a good chat with 'The Hobbit' ('Stumbles' brother). We went to the pub for a pasta dinner which was awesome and had the angel food cake with strawberries desert. I was SO full!!!! Need to eat less in town or grow a bigger stomach. We slept under a tree by the church and stayed dry through the rain that came at night. It was so hot last night. Hopefully our package comes tomorrow!

This guy was making so much noise outside our tent we thought it was a bear!

The coolest outhouse at the Peter Grub Hut

The lovely folks who own the Red Moose

Day 33: 7 miles back down the hill to Beldon. Shin still hurts to put shoe on and decided I needed some rest days before trying to push on. We will take one more full day before continuing or make that choice. It's still tight that's for sure. Sounds like I should have been hitting the Ibuprofen sooner but I am on it now. We're at the Braatens now, who are trail angels who live 1 mile away. They were dropping off "gear slut" and "dirt wolf" and she told me to go home with her. They have beds there and a shower (free). They kind of have this whole separate house you stay in. There's a kitchen and everything. I hear the train!!! She had homemade cookies! I had 4! Hope my shin starts to feel better.

We spent 3 wonderful days here trying to heal my shin splints. I am the only person to ever beat the undefeated employee at ping pong. Who cares if he only has one eye and no right bicep! His excuses for losing...

The main lodge in Belden Town. Known mostly for their wild raves.
Day 36: 25 miles. Woke up at our beauty of a tentsite and on the move by 6:00am. Carried lots of water b/c it was 17 miles to water. Not too eventful but a beautiful morning. Didn't see 'Crusher' until the highway. Some trail angels put coolers on the other side of the highway. I had a root beer! There was a registry too and I read through them and it seemed apparent that we should go into Chester. We hadn't planned on it but I knew I wanted to grab some salami from the grocery store. The general store in old station has limited supplies. I'm out of figs till then :( One of the recommendations was to go to Dentist Dr. Webbs office and there he gives you toothpaste, brush, floss, homemade cookies and a gift certificate for $20 to the restaurant "The Locker Room". Magic!!!We didn't get to meet the dentist but his receptionist was great. We got our pic taken which will go on this board. Well worth the 10mi hitch into town which we scored right away. The restaurant was great (had a club sandwich with salad) and the watermelon wheat beer I had was so good. They even had a frozen yogurt machine with all the toppings. All for under $20! We hitched back and after 20 min got a ride and there were lots of hikers at the TH. 2 of them caught up to us at the river where we were camped. There's a great site right by the river where we got to wash up. Had dinner with everyone (South Paw and Johnny Rocket) on the bridge. Will probably have breakfast/lunch in Drakebad tomorrow which is 10 miles away but maybe we will skip it and move onto old station. It's July 4th tomorrow so who knows if it will be open. Shin feels not too bad. I hopped on it pain free but can still feel it for sure when I walk but it's totally manageable still.

Day 39: 29 miles. Flat as a pancake day!! A few short descents and one tiny ascent. This was the 'dry' water day but there were so many caches. I didn't need to fill at them all. Had lunch by this kinda gross lake. There were vultures flying above near by. Something must have died. Saw more cat prints today but no spotting's. Hot afternoon! Around 2:30am there was a sign at the hwy crossing for "Wild Bird Cash 1 mile ahead". I had been dreaming of a soda all afternoon! When we finally got to it, there was a trail magic oasis!!! Cooler was full of a variety of pop, bananas, apple sauce, mini snickers. There was a cupboard full of food and a stove you could cook on. There was a camera they wanted you to take your picture with. Lounge chairs and a picnic table and to top it off there was a shower with solar shower bags! Just as we were about to leave the trail angels came and we had beer. We chilled with them and talked about how this all came to be etc. Kathy and Randy. They've been doing it 3 years. Johnny Rocket came by and had some beers and South Paw made a brief appearance. They even played the spoons and harmonica for us. Simply amazing :) We carried on buzzed for 7 more miles to the campground where there was a general store. I had some soft serve and then we cooked our freeze dried meal on the picnic table. Now were camped in a random spot but we paid $10 for it!

The greatest Cache that exists on the PCT
Can you believe all of this food!

There was a camera in a box to take a picture of yourself.

They built a shower for hikers and supplied all the solar bags. There was even a mirror!!!!

 Day 42: 21 miles. It rained a bit last night. Peter had to get up and put the fly on. It was so hot last night and we both slept like shit and both our mats were deflating. We got up at 4:20am and got ready to leave in the dark. We were on the trail by 5:03am. We had 6 miles of ascent with 2000ft of gain and then 8 miles of slow descent. We were hauling ass to get into town! It's not like we need to we just seem to do it as we want to just get it over with and be in town. Saw our first bear today. It was a black bear but it was brown. The bear was beautiful and furry like a stuffed animal :) It was just up off the trail and Peter scared it up the hillside. He even growled at it ha! We walked 1.5 miles along the I-5 to get to the market and boy was that sketchy. The wide shoulder was good though! Once at the market we got our package and beer and snacks. I had the best nectarine!!! We sat out on the picnic table and ate and 'Miles' was there too. He hurt some foot tendon and had to 'nero' in the Town of Berney. He was leaving back on the trail today. We decided to hitch to Shasta. We made a sign and stood near the hwy on ramp. The first person wasn't going that way but gave us some blackberries! The second person was only going to Dunsmuir but we decided that would be good to! Neither of us had ever been there. She was great and from Napa. A runner. She showed us the town first and told us about where to stay and eat. We checked into the Inn and relaxed and watched soccer- Netherlands lost :( Then it was laundry time and grocery shopping. Then we went to dinner at the most amazing place! The pesto mussels were so good! I had a seafood salad that was awesome! The fudge brownie and ice cream desert Peter ordered was deadly! We came back and patched up the leaks in our Neoair matresses, hope it works! Didn't get to bed until 11:30pm!!!

"PCT Hiker to Shasta"

Looking over to Castle Crags

The amazing Mt. Shasta
Day 47: 35 miles. Slept away from about 5 others that were all in a campsite together a couple min away. The day was another stunning day that reminded me of the JMT. A few longer steeper climbs that switch backed up the mountains but nothing as long as the passes on the JMT. It was pretty damn hot today. Met "Six Pack" and "Foxy". Red and Daniel hitched into Etna today. Heard it has a brewery. One of the highlights today was at lunch time. About 30 minutes into our lunch after we've eaten most of our food, a pack of like 8 goats rolled by us and decided to lie down and chill. The bigger goats had packs on. One goat was annoying and trying to peck at our shit. We kept expecting to see the owner but never saw one???? You don't see that in regular life! We got to a spring around 5:15 which is where we met six pack. He was high as a kite. It was 0.4 mi to the spring and we ran down. My shin is feeling good. Had a really enjoyable day. Didn't get a chance to wash off before bed but oh well!!!

"Whyyyyyyy"...Sadly, I started to get shin splints again and we stopped hiking in Ashland.

Me and "Ultra Buns", who wrote a book on his supported PCT run at age 83. Ran into him after hobbling off the trail.
The trip was absolutely mind blowing. I would do it all over again in a heart beat. My body only failed me twice. I had shin splints in my left shin that seemed to heal after 2 days rest and taping. Then roughly 3 weeks later I started to get it in my right shin. At this point we didn't have much time left on the trail and just decided to get off early. Stopping was the right call because the shin splints went away right away and I haven't felt them again since.

I will miss the trail, people, lifestyle, being outside almost 24/7, eating whatever whenever, the challenge, and most of all- waking up with Peter and having this awesome single track trail to keep walking on. I feel like I am at my best in these elements and that this is where I belong. The same way I feel when I am out running. I was surprised how much I didn't miss running while I was out there. I think it's because we were often pushing 30 mile days, which is way more than I would do on a regular basis running.

Up next...Sunshine Coast Trail FKT...