Pct mile 127.27
I’m back after 3 days of some brutal hiking. No cell signal and way too wiped out to write anything. But I have been taking notes 😊.
First, some terminology. I will refer to these from time to time.
- Minion Union (MU) – a series of trade unions that keep my body functioning. I have a foot, calf, quad, hammy, back, shoulder, and cardio union. They’ve worked for me since birth. Lately, I’ve heard rumblings of a possible strike. But like Trump, I’m a great negotiator…riiiight. Since I am the brains this operation, I’ve been able to arbitrate thus avoiding a complete walkout. The MU and management must cooperate entirely over the next few months.
- Nero – less than 5 miles of hiking that day
- Zero – doing absolutely nada, zippo, zilcho, stare at the ceiling from a comfy bed kinda nothing
- The Bubble Pack (TBP) – those thru-hikers with similar fitness levels and generally the same distance goals. The old guy is right there with them!
- Eau De Kevbo (EDK) is now changed to Ewww! It’s Kevbo (EIK). I’ve taken my personal fragrance to a whole new level. Never have I smelled so bad in all my life!
- HYOH – Hike your own hike! Never forget that!
- Shower – that rare occasion when everything becomes right with the world
I arrived in Warner Springs yesterday afternoon. It’s a very convenient stop for thru-hikers. The PCTers are allowed to setup tents behind the community center. We can bucket shower behind the building and bucket wash our clothes. They have a bunch of long tables and chairs inside where we can socialize, read, update our journals and recharge electronics… flies are included.
Warner Springs is an odd community. It has a school and a fire station directly across the street. One mile down the road, there’s a gas station, post office, and a golf course. That’s it! Now the golf course is kind of a stretch. You could charge $5 per round in the Bay Area and not get any takers. But hey, they have a grill.
I setup camp with the rest, took that much needed bucket shower, and washed my clothes. I went into the community center to charge up and take a few notes. I met a young engineer named Jason who had completed the trifecta (PCT, AT, & CDT), an incredible accomplishment! He and I struck up a conversation about thru-hiking and we totally lost track of time. He asked if I wanted to get some dinner but neither of us wanted to walk, so we asked a gentleman sitting in his truck for a lift to the grill. He kindly obliged. We walked inside and the kitchen was closed. We missed pizza by 15 minutes!!!
I looked out to the small patio and there were my snowboarders drinking beer and munching on two jynormous pizzas. All eight said my name at the same time as I walked out. They always make me smile. I had this frown on my face and I said that we had just missed getting our dinner. Oh well.
I looked at Jason and suggested that we check the gas station. I bought a tuna sandwich. You know, the one that comes in the plastic triangle. I ate it in one bite. I also grabbed a bag of corn nuts and munched them on the mile walk back to camp. Sad face.
About 45 minutes later, I’m walking back to my tent and two of the snowboarders have a pizza box in their hand. They are coming straight towards me and call my name. One said, “We saw that look on your face at the grill, so we brought you this.” It was two huge pieces of pizza. I almost choked up. It was the coolest thing ever!
May 1 – morning…the mistakes start
Since the post office didn’t open until 8, we decided to go to the grill and have breakfast. One waitress and one cook, not a good idea for 25 hikers. It took a long time to get our food and we really wanted to get on the trail.
Breakfast finally over, we picked up our hiker boxes and walked the mile back. It was getting really hot! Food all spread out on the table, I immediately determined that I had too much food and was forced to rethink the next 4 days. It’s getting later and it’s getting hotter!
Finally, I’m ready to go, it’s noon. We have 17 miles to get to our last reliable water source of the day.
30 minutes into the hike, my mouth is dry and I’m really sweating. No energy! I new there was a small stream 6 miles ahead so I drank a liter of water. Then the climbing started. I climbed and climbed at a very slow pace still struggling with lack of energy. At the stream, I filled 3.5 liters and drank another liter. The hill just got steeper and there was no shade! At mile 10, I was low on water again. There’s an ancient cistern on the side of a fire road about 3/10 of a mile down a steep grade. Mosquitoes and biting flies are everywhere and there’s only about 4 inches of water in the cistern. I’m able to get 2 liters into my filter bag. I hold it up and squiggly little greeblies are swimming around. I filter it anyway. Gotta keep going.
By 7pm, I had over 3 miles to Mikes and the sun is getting low in the sky. I pick up my pace so I can make camp before dark! The trail is not cooperating. It’s rocky and there’s lots of ups and downs. Just before sunset, I remove my pack so I can wear my headlamp. I pull out my lamp to test it. Dead! I must have turned it on accidentally. Crap! Now I’m really rushing and I am dog tired. I reached John and Andrea at the crest of the hill just as the light was leaving the sky. Obviously, I have a backup light but since I caught up with them, I followed close behind. We got to Mike’s at 8:30…in total darkness.
The only thought on my mind was setting up my tent and getting horizontal. Nothing else! I was one very grumpy guy!!! I filled my filter bag so I would have water after my tent was setup. I drank 2 liters before crawling into bed.
In all, I had climbed 4,000 feet up and 2,000 down
Mistake 1 – I didn’t hydrate the night before. I was so caught up with everything around me that I just didn’t do it. Never again!
Mistake 2 – I should not have eaten breakfast at the grill. Get the resupply and get out!
Mistake 3 – hiking at noon was the worst time to start a 4,000 foot climb in 90 degree heat.