Sunday, September 19, 2021

PCT Day 2 + coccyx injury

    I forgot to mention an interesting fun fact that happened before we left for the trip. About 10 days out from our hike we decided to go scrambling in Rogers Pass. Our objective for the day was a rocky peak called Uto. We only made it 1/4 of the way up the actual scramble before I decided I wasn't feeling it and we turned back. 

Climbing up Uto 

    On our way back down we had to cross a rather steep snow slope. Peter said he might butt slide down. I took one look at it and couldn't think of anything more terrifying. Upon a closer look he too had changed his mind. 

The slope I fell down on the way to Uto. It got steeper below!

    The slope descended steeply roughly 300ft and there were rocks on either side of it and at the bottom. Falling didn't look ideal! I have never practiced self arresting and Peter gave me a very brief description of what to do if I were to slip. He recommended I take off my micro spikes because the snow was soft but I decided to leave them on. I was using a new skookum ice axe that was very lightweight and had a shorter shaft than the one I'm used to. I was finding it awkward to plunge into the snow because I had to lean over so much to plunge it deep enough. Needless to say, I wasn't doing the best job because of this. I have never slipped on a snow slope like this and probably wasn't giving it the respect that it deserved. When I was half way across it I slipped and started to slide pretty fast. I did what Peter told me to do but my attempt failed miserably. I kept desperately trying to self arrest but the pick was just cutting through the soft snow. My heart began to race as I descended down the slope on my belly. Because there were rocks on either side I was looking over my shoulder to make sure I wasn't veering in either direction. This caused me to do a few 360 degree rotations. Eventually, I decided to just stay on my butt because I wanted to see the rocks below me and brace for landing! At some point I hit my tail bone really hard. I mental noted that. I had way too much adrenaline rushing through me to care about it in the moment however. Luckily, the slope finished on an uphill ramp before the rocks and that slowed me enough so that I didn't crash into them. Once I came to a stop I took some time to control my breathing. It was completely out of control and it took a few minutes to regulate all the adrenaline that was pumping through my body. That might have been the most intense moment of my life. I've been in worse accidents but I've been knocked out for those and didn't really feel like I was a witness to my own undoing. 

It sure was a beauty day though!

    Once I gathered my wits about me, and after a release of emotion, I went to assess my coccyx (tailbone). It was very sore to touch and I was unable to clench my glutes. The muscles had completely spasmed around it. The couple hour walk out was uncomfortable and I sat in a creek near the car park in an attempt to ice it. The 10 days before the trip were agonizing. Sitting was awful. I couldn't hike or run. Getting in and out of my car was so painful. I started to wonder if I would even be able to hike the PCT at all. Hilariously, when we booked our last minute flights to Oregon just days before, I opted against the travel/cancellation insurance. What possibly would stop us from going, I thought. I went for a walk along the flat rail trail after about a week and I was experiencing shooting pain and spasms in my glute muscles. I decided to get an x-ray to make sure it wasn't broken. Luckily, the x-ray came back clear and it was just a really bad bruise. This at least gave me the confidence that moving wouldn't be making it any worse and I just had to work through the discomfort. I managed a couple of short walks in the forest before we flew out. I was hopeful that my body would enjoy hiking all day and that it would just have to heal as we walked. Sitting is what aggravated it the most and I knew we wouldn't be doing much sitting out there. The flight was pretty uncomfortable but as long as I just sat on an angle and switched sides often I was ok. 

    The first couple weeks of hiking the PCT were entertaining. I couldn't sit normally on the ground. I either had sit on a log with my butt hanging off the back or lay on my side. Ok enough about that...

Day 2: 20 miles

    We woke up at 6am with full hearts and sore legs! The night before Clint told us he saw a bear on trail just before reaching camp. Because it was so hot we slept without a fly over the tent, which meant I could look out and examine if we had any visitors anytime I heard a noise. Luckily, there were none but it made for a restless night. I noted that we were one of the last one's to break camp, which is rare for us. I recognize that now as an odd source of pride and my ego felt a little bit bruised. I quickly realized how ridiculous that was and moved on. 

    Just before lunch we had the option to take a 2 mile detour to a place called Fish Lake Resort. Here you can get real food and drinks. We weren't at the stage where we were craving new and exciting meals as well as we didn't want to add any extra miles to our day, so we skipped it. We got an update later from Clint that it wasn't all that exciting. Today was super hot! Like really really hot. We stopped for lunch beside a creek so we could eat and drink endless amounts of water. Peter was really struggling with his chafing and appeared to be in a lot of pain. He was having to reapply his anti-chafe stick many times an hour. This isn't Peter's first rodeo with chafing. He suffered pretty bad the first time we did the PCT. I think it's a combo of heat, sweat, salt, and the liner of his shorts. We ended up stopping early today to put him out of his misery as well as give our legs a bit of a break because of the previous days mileage. My apologies in advance for the photograph below but I swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth! Hiking is all fun and games until you come face to face with chafing like this. The next few days were spent problem solving this issue...stay tuned for Peter's creative solutions :)

    The plus side to stopping early is you get to pick the best tentsite before all the other hikers get there. We were about to hit a 14 mile section without water so this spot by the creek was going to be a popular camp spot tonight. It was this night that we met a couple named Happy and Lucky. They came all the way from the Czech Republic. We would continue to leap frog with them for weeks to come. 

One thing we looked forward to each night was an episode of something on Netflix. I think at this point we were watching Heist. There was a pocket at the top of the tent that fit Peter's phone perfectly. It became something I looked forward to each night. 

Marathon and Pole Vault

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