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Day 21 - did someone say siesta??

Day 21 - did someone say siesta??

a_ourso Apr 2nd, 2021
a_ourso's 2021 PCT Thru-Hike

207.0 to 221.1

Today was rough going. We started out early- Nike and I getting dropped off where Charlie had picked us up two days ago. It was cool and flat at 7am - and my new pack felt okay, but heavy with lots of days of food and 3L of water.

It was about 3 miles to i10- where the boys were dropped off, so we knew we probably wouldn’t see Spirit again until Big Bear. He was planning on 3 20mile days to Big Bear and then two zeros - Nike and I planned on 4 15ish miles days. We made plans to meet up Monday when we got there.

About halfway into our 3 mile jaunt to i10 - Nike realized her ankle wasn’t feeling any better (side note - Nike has been having a strange foot/ankle pain since Julian and had tried a number of things to no avail) - after discussing it a bit, we both decided she should probably get it checked out and getting off at i10 would be the easiest way to do that. She is as stubborn as me and didn’t want to leave trail... but when two days off and six ibuprofen don’t numb the pain... that screams Injury not just soreness.... she called her husband and he agreed. So we said goodbye and see you soon. (It turned out she had a torn ligament- thankfully not a fracture - and can get back on trail in 1 to 2 weeks - yay for tough mommas).

I didn’t realize it then, but this was the start of a few mentally downward slope days for me. As I kept pushing on - through the flat desert... I stumbled upon a giant rattlesnake... luckily he had just eaten and didn’t move an inch as I approached and passed him. The sun started to rise higher and the sky and the temps neared 90 degrees... this was the second factor to my downward slope... it was hot... my new pack (my other one broke in the San Jacinto Wilderness) didn’t feel quite right on my shoulders... I couldn’t find a rhythm with my feet (at first blaming it on my two days off trail)... I tried to power on.... it got hotter... the gradual climb up to 8700ft from 1000ft seemed steeper than it should... my breaks got longer... I tried to pep myself up with one of the 2 chick-fil-a chicken sandwiches I had packed out... Surely God’s Chicken would save the day... it just made me burp and feel sick as I continued to try and climb in the hot sun... my trail legs weren’t doing what they were supposed to... it was hot... my shoulders hurt...I need a break... I don’t know any of these hikers...on repeat...

The highlight of the day was to be the Whitewater Preserve around mile 217... It was a .5 mile each way from the trail... and by the time I got there at 2:00, I was feeling I was way behind in miles for the day (only 10 by 2...funny how that seemed low)... I had told myself I would just skip it - it was too hot for an extra mile... however as I approached the trail junction a new thru-hiker was walking up the trail from the visitor center... his name was ChinUp.... very timely because at this point my chin was very down... he said there was a group of thruhikers down there and it was so worth the stop.... and that he was camping about 5 miles up and I could join him.... it felt good to be welcomed, since I felt so far from all of my tramily and I said I would try to meet him and would check out the preserve...

I started down the trail and came to the first sign of the water flowing through the granite rocks and just stopped ... yep it was hot and a mile round trip was too far to walk to see friends... I threw off my shoes and dipped my feet into the icy water and leaned back on my pack.... it was heaven... I will stay here for 10 minutes I said as I closed my eyes... every five minutes a day hiker or tourist would walk by my little oasis and strike up a conversation... rest was elusive... my 10 minutes quickly turned to 2 hours...I was in a vortex and didn’t want to leave.... but I needed more miles to reach Big Bear by Monday....

I packed up and headed out into the low in the sky sun... which somehow felt just as hot as the high in the sky sun from earlier...I had wanted to pull a 20 today ... but it wasn’t happening, I decided as I took another break a half a mile up trail in some shade... I decided to camp at the water crossing about a mile up... but when I got there three guys had set up camp and made some snarky comment that I better get a move on it...(I had told them I was trying for 20 earlier that morning)... I was in a bad mood already and that comment just pushed me over the edge - so I decided to keep going... even though the next campsite was 3 miles ahead up a steep climb - where chin-up was... at least I could have some friendly company, I thought...

I made it about halfway up the climb... saw a patch of flat grass and collapsed... the weather was warm.. I would Cowboy camp (no tent) I thought... then I thought of ticks..scorpions and the tarantula Nike and I had seen a few days before...I set up my tent and got out my food to make dinner... I needed to stretch my back something bad... so I delayed dinner to practice some of the yoga that Spirit had been teaching me... I remember laying on my pad and starting a stretch... I woke up three hours later around 9:30 from some sort of deep sleep coma... groggy and disoriented... I didn’t know where I was for a second... couldn’t remember if I had actually made dinner... slowly remembered the second chicken sandwich - ate... and started thinking..

I was exhausted from the sun and climbing... it felt like I had never hiked before... my shoulders were bruised with giant red whelps from my new pack.... I really missed my tramily and started to feel I wouldn’t see any of them again...upset that I took such a long break at the preserve instead of pushing out more miles... downward slope physically and mentally - it was a strange feeling and I sent up a wish for the next day to be better... it was just because of my two days off I thought as I closed my eyes to fall back into a sleep coma in the warm night....

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Next: Apr 3rd, 2021

Comments (6)

Ms_Kimbeaux Apr 15th, 2021

How sad someone must be to strike out at a stranger from the anonymity of their keyboard. My friend, ignore these naysayers - repeat with me: “Bless their hearts.” Perhaps a good dose of God’s chicken will set their souls right. I love you and I am so proud of you! You’ve got this!

a_ourso Apr 14th, 2021

@ryan33 thanks for the words of advice and encouragement!

ryan33 Apr 14th, 2021

That stretch by whitewater can be rough. I had a similar breakdown in that area, just keep putting one foot in front of the other and it will get better in a few days I promise. Get your pack as light as humanly possible and have the mindset that you are getting to Kennedy Meadows and nothing can stop you.

Kyla Apr 14th, 2021

I don't know who could walk 20mi a day alone with a heavy pack in the hot sun up a mountain. Having eaten nothing but what is sorry! Garbage fast food. Even if some super person (or guys) can do it, it sounds like way too much. Maybe relax and go easier on yourself. Wouldn't a fun easy hike enjoying the sights be better than a horrible torture session at warp speed that will probably only result in injury?

TheHat Apr 11th, 2021

Hmmm, Give up now; you're useless; you'll never make it to 13,000 feet. Chick-fil-A is gross; try some organic food. You'll never be strong enough to carry that pack, so you might as well just quit or wind up eaten alive by giant ants.

Niki Apr 6th, 2021

Happy trails Amy. You can do this. You're strong... stronger than you ever imagined. I'm rooting for you!!