PCT mile marker: 1798.2
Miles hiked today: 15.75
I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time sleeping so far – I toss and turn a lot anyway (I call it my rotisserie rolling) but this is ridiculous. You’d think I’d get so tired hiking 12-15 miles a day that my body would just be like – “good night!” Hopefully tonight will break that cycle. Part of the issue has been I’ve been staying up too much past hiker midnight (aka 9pm) – it’s amazing what I can find to do on my phone without cell access. Blog, review photos, look at terrain for tomorrow, obsess over elevation change and water situation, read in the Kindle or iBooks app, etc.
I’m pretty tired tonight. Today can be characterized by 2 words: blowdowns and climbing. Make that – hiker jungle gym (far more class 2s today) and steep ala the AT, but above 7000 feet. Plus, a weather system blew in, of course right when I sat down at an exposed view to eat lunch. I scarfed down my PB &J tortilla and thought frantically about my rain system and what was needed. I decided to forgo the rain pants unless it started to pour, as I knew I’d be climbing most of the afternoon and they make me so hot and sweaty. Rain coat was already on, as it was chilly ahead of the front. Umbrella came out, along with the pack cover. One hiking pole got folded down and put in the side pocket as I knew I’d need one hand for the umbrella – it wasn’t a rigging sort of situation (Wind from several directions).
Yuck! We interrupt this daily accounting to bring you up to date news – the cough has continued, and I just hacked up some flem that was more solid – gross. What’s even grosser – what do I do with it? I’m certainly not putting it back in my mouth to swallow! While I carry TP, tissues are out and snot rockets are in (think creatively), and my TP supply is limited. In fact, it’s one of my top 3 things to try not to run out of while backpacking: 1) water, 2) TP, 3) food. Yes, TP is more important to me than food. I can survive a while without and feel ok asking other hikers, but a dirty behind?? Much more unpleasant, and the point is that you are alone when it occurs. Ok, I found the little empty trail toes friction creme container that’s being added to my trash tomorrow, that’ll do for the flem ball. I do carry half a bandana which serves several purposes – it hangs on my shoulder strap during the day to wipe sweat off my face, but at night one corner is for any drippage from the nose (but a flem ball? Uh, no). It also works as a washcloth out here – I used it this evening to wash off my dirty dusty legs as I’m running short of baby wipes this section. So, it’s wet. Little slices in the life of a backpacker!
Ok, back to our regularly scheduled programming. Maybe I should put a TMI warning on my blog home page!
As the light rain / mist moved in, I was disappointed the view was quickly getting socked in. Much of the last 2 days has been trees, downed trees, and more downed trees. Oh, and these are predominantly pine trees. I started the next climb, which was the first time going above 7000 feet in Oregon along the PCT. It was seriously steep in multiple places, and along ridges. Rats, I just know I’m missing an amazing scene! It took me a long time to do the climb with my asthmatic lungs making themselves known, but I’m glad I had the weather to distract me from how often I had to stop. This also had a happy consequence in that when I took a break up top, some of the mist was burning off! It was a beautiful scene, the sound of the wind and the damp air sweeping through is something a picture can never capture. I wore my rain coat until nearly at camp when all at once it felt much warmer and I could do without. Frankly, I was glad of this as I sweat in it (and it smells something fierce afterwards) — getting clean at Fish Lake is but a distant memory now!
My energy just seemed low all day, lack of sleep, the blowdowns in the morning (takes so much more effort to navigate, and there were literally hundreds), and then the strenuous climb and then steep descent in the afternoon. It’s hiker midnight and I’m about ready for some ZZZZs. Just gotta go pee. Ahh, the life.
Simple pleasure (from yesterday actually that I remembered this morning): getting cold water from my hydration tube in the midst of a hot afternoon.