Day 23: 5/1/2014, PCT Mile 361.8

Miles hiked: 19.8 – plus 1 to get back to the trail. Hello Section D!
Camped at: Blue Ridge Road N306 campsite with the Fellowship, Hog, Rye, & Whitewater

It is chilly camping at over 8000 ft! I knew this, but tonight reminds me yet again. I’m seriously considering if my current sleep system will be adequate for camping in the Sierras (10K+ ft)….it may be time to spring for the down pants and get the inflatable sleeping pad back. Hmmmm….otherwise it was a hoot to actually set up my tent for the first time in a week and a half – not my best pitch ever. I also have free-standing tent envy looking at some of the other folks’ tents here tonight, but I need to keep in mind that I’ve been cowboy camping a lot, and how much am I willing to carry for not using every day? Though that could change when the mosquitos come out to play, since they LOVE me. Seriously adore me, to the exclusion of others. Fellow hikers, you are welcome in advance.

Today was 1 long climb – over 6000 ft, but very gradual in true PCT-switchback style. It was neat to see Baldy Mtn get closer and closer – after seeing in the distance just a few days ago. I also love seeing where my feet have taken me after just a few hours or days. Only the last few miles above 7K ft were giving me any breathing problems (minor at that, I was just trying to go too fast to get to camp) and I’m thinking some of that had to do with needing to eat dinner. Welcome back, hiker hunger! While I still have a few more days on the antibiotics, I’m feeling mostly well – though I feel I’m getting tired too easily. Granted, hiking 19-23 mile days every day since Monday isn’t taking it easy necessarily, but still, I felt worn down when I finished both yesterday and today. I may simply need more calories again, I’ll see how I feel in Wrightwood tomorrow after the 8 miles nero. I’m coughing a bit more again too. Worrisome overall, so I may need to bite the bullet and either take yet another zero or cut down my per diem mileage in the next section. The latter would mean carrying more food, and I’ll be doing that already to increase the calories (for the most part). To be pondered in the next 24 hrs.

While most of today was ridge walking (with a few sketchy sections in the burn area) with gorgeous views, the first picture below is indeed an official part of the trail – a culvert is a first! The underpass under I-15 was also kind of creepy, it’s so long and dark.

Otherwise, the poodle dog bush made a dramatic appearance in the burn area. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, as the only other day I encountered it was the rescue day when my mind was elsewhere. It’s a nasty, smelly plant that only grows after a fire, for about 10 years, and gives a horrible blistering rash to unprotected skin. *shudder* just what I need! I already have a weird rash on the inch or so of leg between my skirt and leg gaiters – heat or I’m allergic to something out here I’m brushing up against. There were a few miles this afternoon that I was ducking and weaving around the poodle dog bush madly, trying to avoid any contact. I’m convinced I want to take the special detour coming up to avoid another even nastier section of the junk, after today’s experience.

Gear failures made a dramatic return today – 3 of them! Perhaps celebrating that I have finished 3 weeks on the trail?? A Sawyer water bag burst, not catastrophically but still majorly annoying as I had to carry 6+L for the waterless 20+ mile stretch, and some water got wasted. Though it squirting on me did cool me down! Next, my watch band detached from the face on 1 side, but it may be able to be fixed. I’m puzzled how that even happened, considering it’s so hard to try to put back in. Finally the Opsak food bag liner tore in the zipper area. It was even new before this trip, and only 350 miles in…*sigh*.

You’d think by the overall negative tone of this entry that today was a frustrating, trying day, but it really was only a little :).

Happy Birthday to my beautiful niece Kyrie who turns 19 today!

Culvert:

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Nasty poodle dog bush infested trail:

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4 thoughts on “Day 23: 5/1/2014, PCT Mile 361.8

  1. I am sorry I missed meeting you as you already passed my neck of the woods. Wrightwood is beautiful and you should enjoy the next few days. Glad you are not letting equipment malfunction ruin your day. Walk on. But not too fast. 🙂

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  2. You made it much further than I with the opsak. I’ve started taping that area of the bag before I start using. Send a frequent failure point. I’ve complained but it seemed I was the only one experiencing. Strange since I’ve had same experience with at least 6 bags and I’m gentle on my gear.

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    • I’m usually tough on my gear, but this is the first Opsak bag failure I’ve had, amazingly enough. On the AT last year, 1 Opsak lasted me more than half the trail, and didn’t actually bust, it was just looking old and brittle so I replaced it. I was thinking the things were indestructible, apparently not. 🙂

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