PCT Day 118, Double Flip and a Flop, Day 37

August 8
Mile 1933.3 to mile 1958.8, 25.5 PCT miles, no off trail miles!
PCT miles: 1160.8
Running total: 1275.8
Yep, we were the last ones to leave camp again!

Only caught two of the mosquitos on Matt’s butt- there had been at least 7!

We were hiking by 0705 but I was taking it slow ’cause I was nervous about my shin- I now totally get Matt’s preoccupation with his knees- what if this is the injury that ends the hike? It’s a very shitty feeling that consumes the mind.

Before going to bed last night I had massaged my shins with some CBD balm and I think it actually helped- I felt totally fine! We hiked 9.2 miles in a little more than 3 hours to Mac Lake where we took our first break. Our plan was to break for an hour, but it was closer to an hour and a half- we are getting better!!
We passed beautiful lakes all morning which meant we had endless water sources- we never carried more than 1.5L at a time!

We planned to stop for lunch at a stream just under 7.5 miles past Mac Lake. We arrived around 3, set up our tyvek, and started our feast.

We were soon joined by Paige, a sweet lady we had chatted with briefly down the trail, and then eventually her two friends Nina and Nate. Paige works for an insurance company and hires and trains nurses to serve as case managers- she said in the field, some companies allow their nurses to work from home!! Whatttt?!?! It was again a moment I needed- there are SO many paths that one can take in nursing; so many doors to walk through & explore- thanks for showing me another, Paige!
We enjoyed talking to the trio so much that we again took another accidental 2 hour break! Ahh!!!
Eventually we were joined by Beats Working and two NoBoers who conquered the Sierra. One of the Sierra Survivors was Sugar Glider, a cool dude that used to work for the Forest Service as a Hotshot. He and Matt bonded over broken jaws & having them wired shut- he, too, has a titanium face!
I started to tell Beats Working that Matt and I still haven’t gotten a 30-mile day yet & I’m really determined to, but then I became embarrassed to have said that in front of a badass Sierra conqueror. BUT, Sugar Glider didn’t even bat an eye and told me, “you still got a chance!” & he gave me a section of trail coming up that I should be able to crush a 30-miler. (He’s aiming for a 60-mile day in that section…haha!) I totally appreciated it! Hey, not all are Sierra Suckers afterall!!
Around 5pm Matt and I finally started hiking again with the goal of camping 8 miles out. Just before we started a 1200 foot climb up to nearly 6500 feet we saw some gnarly looking clouds in the distance and heard thunder- fuckkkk. We happened to be at a junction leading downhill to the Elk Lake Resort, but before giving up on our day we checked our phones to see if we had service. We actually had enough service to check the weather radar and saw that the storm was moving away from where we were so we decided to continue on. We climbed up to the peak and then down the 1.5 miles to Sister’s Mirror Lake, our planned tentsite.

Now, we had heard that the mosquitos were bad in this section so we weren’t surprised, but that didn’t make the onslaught any more bearable!! Ughhh!!! BUT, I finally remembered a tidbit of advice that Raspberry gave me when we crossed paths last week: tying your rain coat around your waist prevents the assholes from biting your butt and it’s more breathable than rain pants!! IT WORKS!

When we arrived to the lake we found a spot, set up the tent, and ate dinner.

Before bed I found another dead mosquito in my underwear- like, how long was he in there for? And how long before he died? Or was he one of the ones I swatted and killed when I was trying to pee?? Ughhhh.
While I hate the bugs, I am still very happy being on trail, and Matt has informed me that he himself is no longer “over” the trail- when I asked when that changed he told me, “when I ate the raspberries!” Damnit I wish I had pocketed some for a stormy day!
Those two NoBo hikers that we met at lunch also expressed frustration & anger with the trail- each day I’m realizing more and more that most people on-trail feel this way at one point or another and yet I have not- I am afraid that if and when I hit that wall, that “saturation” I have seen it referred to as, I won’t be strong enough or brave enough or crazy enough to keep walking…

Happiness is: making friends along the way

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