PCT Day 124, Double Flip and a Flop, Day 43

August 14
Mile 2001 to mile 2023.8, 22.8 PCT miles, no off-trail miles
PCT miles: 1225.6
Running total: 1343.6
Papa Homie was outside ready for us at 0715. We loaded the car and headed across town to pick up two more hikers- it turns out it was a Canadian man that we had met two days before, Bunyan, and his wife Pony- we laughed that we had both said we were heading back to the trail yesterday, and yet…vortexed.
When Bunyan heard about Matt passing out and breaking his jaw, Bunyan told us that he had a similar experience, but when he passed out instead of falling forward he fell backwards, landing him in the hospital with a skull fracture & a brain bleed! Although mostly recovered, Bunyan still suffers from some lingering deficits from the accident. I have said since Day 45 (*day 1 of the injury*), that while a broken face sucks, it beats a skull fracture and brain bleed any day! It’s amazing that he and Pony are out here kicking butt- I hope that I’m that badass when I’m 65!!!
Papa Homie is another badass man- he, too, is in his 60’s & attempted the PCT just a few years ago. While knee problems forced him off-trail, he had always planned to come back to finish. Unfortunately, maybe a year ago(?), he contracted a brain infection that left him partially paralyzed, with the infection spreading to his spine and beyond. He spent a few months recovering in the hospital and is now on the mend, thank goodness!! He said that the doctors think that the cause of the original infection was from a root canal- he had had a temporary crown that had fallen off and it took him a week to get it fixed, so they think in that time he got the infection. Woof!
{After Matt’s root canal, the dentist gave Matt the option of an immediate temporary crown that had the risk of breaking on-trail, or waiting a few days longer for a permanent one…thank goodness we waited!! Both Bunyan & Papa Homie had “coulda been Matt” stories….}
Since he can’t return to the trail just yet, Papa Homie has been kicking ass as a trail angel, driving around smelly hikers like us- thank you, Papa Homie!!

Papa Homie had us at the trailhead before 8am.

Bunyan and Pony hit the trail almost immediately, while it took Matt and I a bit longer to get going. I recognized Robin’s car in the parking lot, so left Sue & Robin a little note before we started.

The day started with an extremely gradual climb of 1650feet over 7 miles. We climbed mostly through an old burn scar, only briefly scampering through some unburned forest. The hiking came extremely easy this morning & the scenery was beautiful, BUT my shoulders and back were hurting from my pack- for whatever reason my food bag didn’t fit normally this morning and I was in too much of a rush to fix it, which I think threw off the balance/weight distribution of my pack.

Three Fingered Jack

I was moving a bit slower than normal, but I’m thinking it’s ’cause I only ate a 100cal granola bar and a few handfuls of chex-mix for breakfast- I was SO ready for second breakfast! About 9.5 miles in, a little after noon, we stopped for a quick 40 minute break. Once we were both adequately nourished we pushed on up the trail.

We soon hit another climb, this one 900 feet in just over 3 miles in another burn scar. Hiking in a burn area that’s completely exposed in the middle of the day in the summer heat made this little climb feel rough! Woof!

The climb ended in a nice forested area, and we hiked on a bit to Rockpile Lake, where we took a quick rest to filter our water.

Matt had asked if tomorrow was the day I had planned that we try for 30miles and a guy sitting near us said, “I’ll probably go 30 miles without even trying.” Ugh- definitely a Sierra Sucker comment.

“You went through the Sierra?” I asked.

He in fact did, and when I asked him about it he said he didn’t regret doing it, but he didn’t enjoy it either. He also told us that he was ending his hike in Cascade Locks- he was bored of hiking and not enjoying himself, and said that he would rather be happy than be able to say that he finished a thru hike. I thought that was super brave, so he totally redeemed himself in my book.

Matt and I carried on with the plan of stopping at the next water source in 8 miles and camping just a little beyond that. We strolled through the rolling terrain and as we neared the water source we started to get attacked by mosquitos! Nooooo!!!

SO, a few people have commented on how many water bottles Matt and I carry- we each have 3 clean bottles, one dirty, and a squirt-top bottle for our flavored drinks- it is probably overkill, but I’d rather carry more than not have enough, and I’m me…

As I was filling up my dirty bottle, a clean bottle jumped out of my pack and landed in the water- and if you know me, you know that there was NO way that I was using a bottle that just went floating down Lake Giardia- so, down to two dirties and 2 clean. Later that night I mixed up a clean and a dirty, so I went down to 1 clean bottle and 3 dirty…oops!! Glad I had so much room for Ali Error! 🙂
Since the mosquitos were so bad I couldn’t bring myself to sit down and filter the water, so I carried on to our planned tent site while Matthew filtered his water. Our tent site was just as bad with the mosquitos- for the first time in nearly a week we needed to use our nets. 😦
We quickly set up the tent, ate dinner, and jumped into our tent. Bed time! 30 mile day tomorrow??

Happiness is: a beautiful day of hiking, evening skeeters aside

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