7.27.18. 30.5 miles.
I’m laying in bed and still wondering if today was a good idea. I woke up at 4 am and was hiking by 4:45. The air was still pretty smoky and the moon was bright orange. It was pretty cool. It was pretty dark though, and I needed to use my headlamp until 5:30, and even then, it seemed darker with the smoke. The gnats bothered me so much today, especially right after the sun rose. They would not leave me alone. I put my buff on over my nose/ mouth so I could breathe properly on the uphill without fear of inhaling/ swallowing & then choking on them.
I took a short break at about 10 miles in on a ridge because I had phone service. I wanted to get some updates about the fire that’s causing all this smoke, the Carr fire. It has gotten worse, and I feel so badly for the communities near Redding who are evacuating and losing everything. Thankfully the PCT isn’t threatened by this fire, but you never know. Some people are (in my opinion) overreacting to this. One person I talked to today would not stop talking about how he wants to skip up to somewhere where there’s no smoke and come back and do this section. I didn’t know how to politely tell him that I’m pretty sure there’s smoke all the way past Crater Lake just because of various fires that are burning.
After my break the rest of the morning dragged on. It was starting to get hot. I took another mini break to go pee and filter some water before getting to my lunch spot, where there was a stream nearby, about 17.5 miles into the day. There were lots of hikers crowded in the shade, and I met some new people. Threader, Shark Bait, Penguin, and some others whose names I’m forgetting. I was there for almost 2 hours before needing to continue on. We were greatly entertained by the doe who just walked all around us. She was not intimidated, and was probably waiting for us to leave so she could try to extract the salt residues we left behind.
There was a little more uphill (that was painful) before the long downhill descent to the McCloud River & Ash Camp, my anticipated campsite for the night. My feet were killing me. They haven’t hurt before on long days like this, so I’m assuming it’s just because of my days off that they’re feeling so hurt. I got a few hot spots that I put leukotape on after soaking them in an ice cold stream about 5.5 miles after lunch. I debated stopping early, but after the soak, they weren’t feeling bad anymore, so I pushed on. The last 1.5 miles were kind of painful, and I also let out a questionable fart that I didn’t know if more happened... so I was booking it down to the campsite where there was a pit toilet so I could investigate. I got there around 8:15, and thankfully the fart was just a fart. I inhaled my mashed potato dinner & gummy worm dessert, looked at guthooks for tomorrow, and set up camp and finally laid down on my sleeping pad and it felt so good. I popped some Advil, in hopes that tomorrow won’t be so painful, and I know as soon as I put my phone down, I’ll be fast asleep.
I’m not planning to go super far tomorrow, I might not even do 20 miles bc there’s so much climbing. We’ll see how I’m feeling after today. I’m also going to sleep in a little bit tomorrow just bc I’m in a canyon and the sun won’t shine too much anyways, so I’ll probably be fine on the first climb of the day.