OR Day 4: 9/3/16

Camped at Brown Mtn Shelter, PCT mileage marker 1760.8, hiked 16.5 PCTmiles today + 0.3 side trails

This morning’s sunrise was sublime.  I woke up 15 mins earlier than I did yesterday and managed to get on the trail 20 mins earlier – how about that!  Happily, I had a good view as the sun peeked over the mountains.  

Much of the day was spent in forest of big ponderosa pine (lovely walking) and some scrubby scratchy brush encroaching on the trail.  Continued incredibly dusty today, but it does make for comfy walking (well as comfy as nearly 17 miles gets when you’re used to walking 6 at the most).  Apparently the lava rocks start up tomorrow, I’ll probably be wishing for dust instead!  

With the pines came pine cones – both big and small, but mostly big.   I had to wonder – what season do they fall?  I would hate to be clobbered by one, those suckers would hurt big time.  

womens size 9.5 comparison

I had quite a bit of climbing today, though the grade was very easy as things concerned – about 6 miles to climb 1400 feet!  My personal definition of steep came from my AT experiences – more than 1000 ft in 1 mile.  Regardless, I had a much easier time regulating my breathing today.  I stopped bargaining with myself – I.e. you just need to get to that next tree before taking a breather.  I realized I was simply putting a false limit on myself and not concentrating enough on going slow but steady.  Also, I remembered that I have my emergency inhaler with me (as always), and that my allergist told me to use prophylactically before exercise as needed.  Bingo!  Definitely helped, particularly climbing to above 6000 feet.  

My struggles continue to be during hot sunny stretches in the afternoon (shade to shade hiking is perfectly acceptable in that circumstance!) and the last few miles of the day as I’m getting tired.  I always imagine different body parts talking to me – my feet “seriously you want to go another 2 miles??  Better give me some rest first!” I don’t understand how some hikers can eat snacks as they hike – don’t they need the packs-off, get off your feet breaks?  Well I certainly do, and got my pack off every 1-2 hours today, even if it’s a mini break just to pee.  

I felt like I pushed myself today – 16.5 miles was probably a bit much for my 3rd full day in the trail.  Still, I got into camp around 5:30pm — hiking more miles actually took me a shorter amount of time today – I’m sticking with the reason that I’m getting stronger.  It didn’t help that I took a Benadryl at 2pm to try to help with my bee sting swelling.  Can we say yawn city?  It felt like I had been walking forever today – but then I got to camp, ate and talked, and felt in much better spirits.  

I think I have a weird head shape – I swear every hat just pops off the top since it is so round.  It’s a struggle all night long as I toss and turn.  Guess I’ll just have to lose the weight again to fit into the puffy and sleeping layer that have hoods!  The hoods worked great when I was on the PCT in 2014.  

Hikers encountered:  I met Soup when I was stopped at my last sit down break of the day, and again at Brown Mtn Shelter, which is one of the few shelters on the PCT and quite different than the ones on the AT.  Soup described himself as a thru hiker of the PCT’s greatest hits!  In other words he skipped about 200 miles or so at spots he didn’t want to hike.  

On trail, I briefly met 2 SOBOs, one of whom made me feel sad for him – he said he was looking to make friends!  Obviously pretty lonely – at times it’s hard to know whose head of you or behind despite the trail grapevine.  I hope he catches the group I met yesterday in Ashland.  I also saw 2 SOBO weekenders, and 1 NOBO thru couple (maybe one of the same as yesterday – they looked familiar) passed me this morning.  Not as many day and weekender peeps out here as I might have thought! 

Tin Man, Kermit, and Ice Man (?), a group of 3 NOBOs I met yesterday showed up at the shelter and had a mini Burning Man effigy started with glow sticks since Tin Man couldn’t go this year.  They had tunes playing and it was so nice to have a camp fire and good company.  Since I don’t initiate fires by myself, this may be the only fire out in the backcountry on this section.  Brought back so many memories.  

Gear:  repairs continued today – apparently my sewing job of yesterday was inadequate as the shorties ripped in the same spot when I wasn’t thinking and just yanked them up after taking a potty break.  Hopefully the double row will suffice.  

I haven’t yet used my umbrella yet – no rain and the sunny exposed stretches have been minimal that getting it out wouldn’t have been worth it.  Otherwise, while it has been chilly at night and in the mornings, no need for the down booties yet.  Addenda next day; I ended up using my down booties last night – it was cold!  Locals told me it is about 10-15 degrees colder than normal right now.  Lucky me, I love hiking in this weather!  

I also haven’t used my extra-small camp towel, but that’s more for showers at places like Fish Creek tomorrow and other campgrounds.  Happily, few items have been needed out of the first aid kit, Benadryl and Vit I not withstanding.  

Health:  with all the dust, getting a bit congested and coughing at times, particularly just now lying in my tent.  I’m continually amazed how my body repairsitself overnight  so I’m ready to go the next morning.  Miraculous really.  

Where oh where is the shelter’s pit toilet?? This is false advertising!  Addenda: I looked up the entries on Guthook and Halfmile – neither claim there is a privy here.  *sigh* – must have hallucinated I saw it out of a desire not to do my biz in the woods for just one morning!  


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