Miles hiked: 14.9
Camped at: Bird Spring Pass, right next to the water cache (thank you Nut Nu & Tom!)
Why am I doing this to myself? That question has been revolving around in my mind off and on (more on than off, frankly) for the past 2 weeks since I caught the head cold. Turns out the wheezing isn’t completely gone – in town, no problem, but climbing hills at 5000+ feet, in exposed desert – a problem. Within a few miles, my exuberance from this morning (I’m actually going out hiking again!) was gone as seemingly unnatural sickly tiredness set in again. I’m not as bad as I was leaving Tehacahpi a week ago but I am disheartened.
Time to face some hard truths. I have to admit: 1). I’m not 100% well, not really close to it. I have serious doubts about my ability to handle the High Sierra elevations if I’m struggling with 5-6K. 2). I’m lonely. With all of the folks I was hiking around now several days to a week or more ahead, I so wish I had skipped ahead to be with them. But, going back to point 1), I most likely couldn’t keep up in the Sierra, as I don’t think my lungs would stand for it. Perhaps my outlook will improve out of the SoCal low desert, as I readily admit 3). I’m *done* with hiking in the sand, with the sandy wind, in utterly exposed areas, while having to carry lots of water. AT friends take note – I’m actually missing the humidity!! And trees, streams, shade, and the AT camaraderie. Perhaps I’m not cut out for hiking totally solo on a long distance trip. I have to think my general negative frame of mind right now is preventing me from trusting that I’ll meet a great new group of folks, despite the fact I’ve seen all of 4 people today, and just within the past hour as I’ve been writing this during my siesta, tucked up against and under some boulders on the side of the trail.
This entry is all gloom and doom, gotta have something positive! Many thanks to The Writer, a section hiker this year who is currently doing some trail angeling. She gave me a ride back to Kelso Valley Rd trailhead this morning, allowing me to miss only a few miles of the trail from where I got off last week. She is also stocking and checking a wonderful cache at that location as her husband, who thru’d last year, remembered how challenging this section is. Thank you Writer!! It was wonderful to talk with you, I hope you very much enjoy the 1000 miles you do this year.
More positive: I was so relieved the cache at Bird Spring Pass was still stocked. I drank A LOT of water today and if the cache hadn’t been here tomorrow would have been majorly rationing, never good. Now I need to decide if I think I can actually go 21.5 miles to Walker Pass and the next available water, or if I need to haul more to dry camp. Up early tomorrow to beat the heat so hopefully I won’t feel as antsy during my siesta.
Final note for today – I *am* doing better than last week. I was hiking ~2mph today, even on the climbs. So, maybe if the wheezing and final congestion clears up, I don’t have to be as worried for the Sierra. Need more data!