PCT Day 110, Double Flip and a Flop, Day 29

July 31
Mile 1781.5 to mile 1810, 28.5 miles, + .4 miles off trail for lunch at a lake, 28.9 miles total
PCT miles: 1024.2
Running total: 1136
Whatever, we snoozed our alarms again. 😉
We slept until 0630, avoiding the mosquitos that lurked just outside. By 8 am we were packed and moving through the mosquito hell, and I swear to you that I have never hiked so fast in my life!

We took a quick break for our 1000 mile selfie! This milestone came 110 days after we started, but really only day 77 of our actual on-trail journey. Since we lacked an official mile marker we had tried to convince the 1,000 mosquitos that were swarming us to fly in the formation of the number 1,000, but they listened to that just as well as they listen to me shouting, “get the hell off of me!” 99% of the day. Ugh.

1000 miles
In Washington, the mosquitos didn’t give a shit if you used bug spray or not- if you stopped moving, they attacked. I have found that the mosquitos here don’t give a shit if you’re moving or not- they will follow you in swarms and bite you as you walk. BUT, they are pretty respectful of your bug spray: they didn’t go for my legs, which I had sprayed, but holy hell were they biting my ass through my shorts!! Matt said at one point I had 5 on my butt AS I WALKED…….ughh
When the first SoBo hiker passed I stopped him to ask if the mosquito-hell ever ended- he wasn’t wearing a net and he was actually smiling, so I was hopeful AND sure enough yes! He said he hadn’t noticed any that morning. Thank frickin goodness!!!!
Matt and I took a quick break on a log to rest our feet before hiking another 4.4 miles to a lake for lunch.

At the lake we met Danger Poles, a true NoBo hiker who actually had hiked through the Sierra- he said it was terrible, but he is glad he did it, but he is also surprised that he survived. He told us stories of days they had to walk NINE miles off-trail along a river to find a safe place to cross and he said that in his group of 7-9, each person was almost swept away at least once in a river crossing. Oh hell no. He said they would strip down to their underwear to cross, and that his deepest river crossing was up to his chest. Also hell no. He said that they woke up at 2:45 to leave camp by 4am (he said breaking down camp took longer than usual because everything was frozen: your tent, the tent stakes, your hands, etc.), and it would take them on average 1 hour to go 1 mile. So many hell nos. Of the 7 people he entered the Sierra with, only 2 or 3 actually made it through: some decided to flip, some left due to injury, and one decided to quit the trail entirely. Yep, nope.

Danger Poles also mentioned that he hiked his first 40 mile day the day before- it turns out that he was the guy who had walked by our tent around 1am! And he was up and moving by 0745 that morning. (Although I love the thru-hiker life, I will never be able to fully embrace the true spirit of a thru hiker: I will NEVER be the person who hikes until 1 am OR who wakes up super early to hike in the dark- first off, I like sleeping and the warmth of my sleeping bag way too much, but also I enjoy the views too much AND I don’t want to get eaten by a mountain lion.)
Lunch was again pleasant with no bugs, and we left to return to the trail a little after 3. Just like my desert days, post-lunch I was feeling nauseous and shitty, which made a fairly steep climb pretty tough and slow-going and it totally sucked ’cause we had another 14 miles to hike.

Just as I started to feel better we had another mosquito ambush- and apparently the evening skeets didn’t give a fuck if you used bug spray or not- I felt attacked and violated and don’t think I have ever cursed so much in my life or have wished death upon anything more strongly than those fuckers. It was miserable!!!

Thankfully, eventually, they got better- ’cause we still had a few miles to go! We hiked through a burn section as the sun was setting- it was beautiful! (And then eerie as the sun completely set…)

We took a quick snack break with 3 miles to go and ended up pulling into camp around 9pm. We saw a tent set up and a man called out to us- he was making sure we aren’t a bear! I called back, “nope, just me! And clearly I’m not light on my feet!” To this, another man up-trail called to us. At first I thought we were getting yelled at for being loud so late at night, but then we heard, “it’s me, Danger Poles!” Danger Poles still had another 7 miles to go for the night, but had stopped to eat dinner. We set up our tent and ate dinner with him before he carried on and we went to bed.

We set our alarms with the hope of doing the 10.9 miles to Crater Lake before 10am & went to bed.

Happiness is: new growth in burn scars and beautiful sunsets

One thought on “PCT Day 110, Double Flip and a Flop, Day 29

  1. The beautiful flowers growing among the dead trees is truly hopeful! May I suggest moving to the desert when you (finally!) get off trail? I tell people here all the time “We aren’t in a drought. This is the DESERT!” and mosquitoes are virtually never a problem here! Good thing you’re not hiking in malaria country… I’m with you on the getting up too early or hiking too late. One of these very recent posts said something along the lines of enjoying yourselves and that it’s not all about the distance but about the experience. Jeff and I agree; we were determined to get around the world on our one year escape from reality, but we only made it for 9 months and we sure as hell didn’t get around the world. But, we had amazing experiences and loved the journey. Mind you, we were not – repeat not – sleeping in a tent or trying to survive in the wilderness! Just one week of what you’re going through and I’d have to be sedated!!
    Hang in there friend…but only for as long as you want to!

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