Righteous and Big Daddy were outside my tent at 5am this morning messing with me. I was in the middle of a dream and was confused by their voices. They threatened to take my food and I mumbled nondescript responses to them. They took off and crossed Kerrick Creek via a downed log we located upstream last night. A couple hours later me and GoPro went to the log crossing and slowly inched across it, waters raging under it. Crossing logs is not one of my strong suits. I don’t have the most amazing balance. But I managed to do it with only my feet getting wet. The water was cold. After getting through that obstacle we climbed up and over two separate ranges. The terrain continued to be rugged, and included a creek/trail crossing that had a waterfall flooding the trail.
A couple hours later we had to ford two deep creek crossings. Overall it was a cold way to start the day. This section of trail is laborious and brutal. By lunch I had arrived at Wide Creek, which is part of the Wilma Lake inlet. When I got to it, I saw the Lazy Fucks hanging out on the other side of the crossing sun bathing on a rock. They instructed me where to cross. I got over the strong but calm current and parked it for lunch. Based on the time of the day and the miles we have left, this is probably going to end up being a long day. Many thru-hikers I meet sort of chuckle at me when I tell them my pace. They are much faster than me, but Im hiking my own hike. Ive never done this amount of back country exploration and I am still hyper-careful about re-injuring myself. Towards the end of my lunch break, Steele and Cora showed up and Ten Gallon and I shared our observations on safe crossing locations. Steele has to carry Cora across most of these rivers and this one’s current makes it more sketchy for him than if he was just by himself. When he crossed he was pulled under but we luckily grabbed him and Cora before thy went too far.
After lunch we started climbing up Dorothy Pass and it kicked all of our asses. Today ended up being one of the most physically exhausting days on the PCT, and most definitely my least favorite.
5.5 miles felt like 15. Going up and down through more snowbanks, plus all the swampy mud holes (assholes) on the trail became frustrating. It was also a long stretch through deep forest so it was harder to see how far you were actually traveling. Green tunnels tend to make you feel like you haven’t gotten anywhere. Much different than in the High Sierra, where you can see the pass you will ascend, and you can see the fall you will drop into. The change in scenery was limited.
By the time I got up to the summit it was 6:30pm and my feet had been wet for 12 uninterrupted hours. Up on top of the pass, I found a lonesome Earwig rolling a joint. Shortly after I arrived, Ten Gallon showed up, and then eventually the rest of the crew. I had my mind set on getting down the other side of the pass to camp in a dry spot. As we hastily descended down the pass around a lake we realize we had followed the wrong footpath. By this point I was mentally and physically done hiking. And I was definitely done with Yosemite National Park. Its beautiful, but it is literally a meat grinder. It’s tough hiking in this wilderness. Everyone was in sort of a crappy mood and was ready to be done with the Sierra all together. The crew decided to stop and camp right there, but I wasn’t.
Ten Gallon and I kept hiking down the wrong side of the lake and eventually found the PCT through some minor bushwhacking. While we were at it, we pushed a couple more miles to pass mile 1000. Although I haven’t hiked 1000 miles yet, it sure felt like it. Remember, I skipped 400 miles of desert after my injury to stay on schedule. So no matter how hard I hike, Im always behind.
We found a nice spot on a cliff and caught the sunset for dinner. I congratulated Ten Gallon on his thousandth mile and shared my mash potatoes with him. He hikes stoneless so he doesn’t ever get a hot meal at the end of the day. Just a gallon zip lock of M&M’s. We are going to push for Kennedy Meadows North tomorrow and get real food and beer. The rest of the team will catch up, Im sure.
What a long damn day. It’s got to mean something that a month ago today we started the Sierra from mile 702 and now we are at mile 1000.