Saturday, April 26, 2014

Day 22 - Somewhere near mile 321

As I mentioned, yesterday was a long haul. Add to the miles was a growing disquiet due to gathering and darkening clouds overhead. I was happy to find a very small spot to plant myself for the night and once dark the rain began to tap on the tent roof. First gently then with vigour. I finally had to put ear plugs in order to sleep. Two good things were the tent worked like a champ and secondly it wasn't as cold due to the cloud cover, as well as being lower in elevation. 

In the morning everything outside was wet! As well as the outside of the tent from rain and the inside from condensation. But no harm done and I was able to dry it out easily during the day today. What was super wet and  cold, were the grasses along the trail. They overhung the trail and walking through them was like having ice tossed on my legs and feet. Soon my toes were numb and I was wet from the waist down but it didn't matter...I just kept walking and everything eventually warmed up. 
Later today I spoke with a guy who is section hiking the PCT and he told me there had been snow this morning on the first bridge in Deep Creek. Dang I guess this weather pattern we are having is a big'un. As we were walking out of the canyon I could see it had snowed in the San Gabrials last night! Yikes, I'll be there in less than a week. Hope it melts some. 
It's still windy tonight but it doesn't appear as though it will rain any more this evening. I am hoping the typical weather pattern of wind dying down after dark holds true here. This flapping of the tent is off putting. 

I only managed 17 miles today. Mostly because if we'd gone further there wouldn't be places to camp out of this wild wind we are having. So if we are indeed going to get to the Best Western tomorrow night it will need to be a 23 mile day. I don't know that I have it in me but I'm starting at 5:30 am, or as soon as it is light enough to see the trail. Time will tell!

Day 21 - Deep Creek Canyon

Mile 304
Burrrrrr. It was 27 degrees at 6 this morning when I rolled out of bed. I wanted to stay put but no-can-do. Gotta get the feet back on the trail. 

One of the times when I wasn't sleeping during the night I turned on my headlamp and looked at the miles needed to get to Cajon Pass. TC thought we'd need to do 17 mile days but when I looked at it this morning it appeared to be more like 19 mile days. NO! When I mentioned it at breakfast TC agreed the numbers were higher than planned for. I had enough food to go another day but they pretty much needed to be done with this section within four days. However I wasn't interested in doing another 19 mile day so soon and was planning on just parting ways for the brief time when I'd be behind them. 

That was the plan all day until we got to the first bridge in Deep Creek at 2pm, having walked 13 miles since breakfast. It was too early to hang it up for the day and this would put me way behind them so I decided to go a bit farther, 15 or so miles seemed to be about right to me. Unfortunately there were only steep canyon walls at 15 miles, and at 16... Finally at 17 miles I could see the best place to camp would be right at 19 miles.  Only 6 miles more than I was planning for the day. 

I must say I felt pretty good until the last couple of miles. Maybe I'm getting used to the workload. The only question remaining is will I do a 19 miler tomorrow as well? Right now j can't imagine it but who knows? I might feel better in the morning. 

Here is my "campsite" such as it is. Not a lot of space in this canyon. 
Here is dinner. Tom Ka Gai. Yum!
Oh, BTW...

Day 20 - Little Bear Spring

Mile 285 
Today was the first day I felt pretty dang strong all day. Yahoo for that! The originional plan was to walk 17 miles then dry camp, walking a further two miles in the morning to get to water. At some point my hiking compatriots reasoned we wouldn't have to carry so much water if we just pushed on for the additional two miles. I wasn't willing to commit to the extra mileage and wanted to wait and see how I felt at the 17 mile point. So I kept all my water. At about mile 15 we began to walk through a huge burn area with almost no trees, and the ones that still stood were burned sticks. It didn't look too inviting to sleep in such an eery place so I dug deep and made the extra two miles. So, 19 miles in ten hours, including breaks. Not too shabby for an old fart. 

Tomorrow for much of the day we'll be walking along Holcomb Creek which will keep us from having to carry too much extra water weight. Though unless we want to hike 23 miles (not me!) it'll be a dry camp tomorrow night. Suits me fine.

When I get to running water tomorrow I've gotta do something about my feet. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day 19 - Rest Day

I just composed a very detailed discription of the activities associated with a "rest day". However, my phone rang before I saved the content and guess what? It's all gone. Given that I'm not going to try to reproduce the missive and you will have been saved from my over-sharing. Good news for everyone. Suffice it to say I've spent more time on buses, or waiting for busses, in the last 24 hours than I would have imagined possible. 

Just a couple of images before we take off tomorrow at 6:30am. Our last bus ride. 
My Chinese fortune cookie fortune. 
I bought a new stand alone battery that will be sent to our next stop but for the next four days I'll have to be blog-lite. Keeping the phone off till the end of the day and just giving the Readers Digest version of daily activities. Thanks so much for reading along. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Day 18 - Big Bear rest days

One of the best things about coming to town, besides showers and clean clothes, is eating resturant food. For example, I got into town at 11 or so, checked into the Motel 6 and immediately went in search of food. 

I had to go the the Hostel to pickup my resupply box, which entailed a bus ride so I looked on my Yogi's guide map for Big Bear and saw there was a place called the Grizzly Manor Cafe. So I hopped on the bus and got off just in time to beat the lunch rush. 

Hum, breakfast or lunch? It all looked good but I opted for a burger that included cheese, bacon and Ortega chilies. Yum! I'm sorry I didn't include a photo of it as it was a sight to behold but I barely let the server put the plate down before I dove in. I did get a picture of the "flavor" of the place, once I slowed down.
 Since I am talking food here, for dinner we went to a place that serves Indian'ish food. It was yummy but Indian isn't my favorite so I'm going for Chinese tomorrow. I'm jonesing for vegetables. 

Now that I have electricity for the next day or so I'll have to try to remember to take photos. 

Day 17 - Coon Creek CG

Mile 256.5
Shelly, repeat after me. Never, never, never, ever, never leave a trailhead in Southern California without the capacity to carry eight liters of water! This doesn't mean you must carry that much but you should have the capacity. 

This abmonination is the direct result of the situation I found myself in this morning. Me with my measly four liters, plus 20 ounces, was faced with walking 15 miles today and then another 10 tomorrow on four small liters of water. Why oh why did I send those extra water containers back home? Clearly I wasn't thinking correctly way back in Idyllwild. 

So my solution to this screwup was to walk the ten miles to this campground, sitting out the heat of the day and first thing in the morning walk the six miles to Onyx Summit and call a trail angel for a ride to town. I'll meet the gals at the Motel 6 - Leaving a light on for them...
This is Tidy Camper (who isn't very tidy right about now) and Dirty Burly Girl, who is as her name suggests. This was at 11 today, right after lunch. When I got to this  campground at 2pm I was hungry again and ate my dinner. I guess I'll be having snacks at the next feeding. 

Which brings me to the topic of hiker hunger and food. Clearly I don't have quite enough calories in my food plan and I'll have to add some high calorie choices into my food bag for the next section. I've been trying to lose weight for so long I just don't think of it ahead of time. It is quite likely there will be some cheese and pepperoni in my near future!

All this food talk reminds me of a story I heard about Anish, the woman who holds the self supported speed record of the PCT, 60 days,13 hours and change. Averaging 43 miles a day for that long a time you can imagine her caloric needs. I guess at one point she was dipping her Oreos in coconut oil before she ate them. I don't feel that hungry but Oreos and milk sounds kinda good to me. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Day 16 - A Four Advil Morning

You can guess from the title that I was achy breaky this morning when I awoke at 4:00. I started with two pills but closer to 5:00 I added two more. By the time I walked out of camp I was moving without too much trouble. 

Unfortunately I didn't hit the trail till after 6 and there was only 45 minutes before the sun peered over the mountains. 

Still it makes for nice light...
I did pretty well for the first part of the day but as the morning turned to afternoon and the sun, aka Public Enemy Number One (ask Angela) began to beat down on me my enery flagged and my pace, which is never fast, ground to a slow crawl. It wasn't as hot as it could be at 85 in the shade, but for a coastal gal like myself it was too dang hot for words. 

In fact it took me 12 hours to hike 16.5 miles. That included many breaks but still I'm gonna have to do better than that if I expect to keep hiking with these two hiking fiends. We have another 16 mile day tomorrow and another 16 the next day. Hope I can manage it. 

One more thing. This afternoon as it was cooling off I surprised myself and a rattlesnake. He/she rattled very loudly and I jumped very highly. Quite polite of the snake I'd say. Anyway it was a big thing with rattles for days. My first snake of the season. 

Day 15 - Whitewater Preserve

Today was a short day, only eight miles, mostly because we were trashed from yesterday but also because this place is beautiful, there is water here, shade and they let PCT hikers stay and camp for free. It closes to the public at 5pm so it will be quiet as well. 

Unfortunately we didn't get an early start because we had so much to do this morning because of our resupply boxes. By the time we pulled in last night about all we could do was eat and pick up the boxes. Sorting and packing fell to this morning. Also I was trying to figure out my solar system and I wanted to call the company I got it from.  Finally I realized today was Saturday and they weren't going to answer the phone, no matter how many times I called. Duh. So we didn't get on the trail till 9am, just in time to be climbing in the full sun. 

The first part of the morning I felt like I had lead in my pants and all I could do was walk a bit then stop, leaning on my poles and dripping sweat. I mean dripping sweat. It probably only got to 90 today but it felt like 120 and I was acting like I was dopey. Before I cause alarm I was drinking plenty of water and eating salty stuff. I was just tried I guess. Anyway after I ate some lunch I felt better and I was much stronger for the rest of the hike. 

I walked in here about 2:30pm and found my hiking buds sitting at a picinic bench eating lunch. Or maybe it was an after lunch snack. At any rate if made myself some miso soup with seaweed, just the thing for salt replacement. That wasn't enough so I cooked my dinner next and I am now lounging about. 

Because I am trying to conserve battery power for the next week or so these posts will be light on images as I'm keeping the phone off all day long. I'm sure I'll miss some beautiful stuff to share with you all but there you have it. I'll try to write everyday then post it, if I can get reception at the end of the day. If not that day then the next. 

Theoretically we will be in Big Bear in three days more. This works out to 15-16 miles a day but you can bet I'll be doing as much mileage as I can way before it gets hot. Then I'll pull off in a patch of shade, if I can find some, then begin hiking some more when it gets cooler. That's the way we roll here on the PCT!
Cowboy camping (as they call it) tonight.