PCT Mile 211.5
Top of the morning to y’all.
The temperature was in the low 20s overnight and the windchill factor was in the teens. Everything in my tent was frozen!!! My sleeping bag held up OK in these extreme conditions, but it was wet from my body heat. My rain shell had gotten wet from yesterday’s hike and it crunched like a potato chip. My pack was in the same condition. Okay Kev. Get your ass off this mountain and do it now! Three deep breath’s, and I began to get dressed. I was already wearing my down vest and my down jacket. I put my crunchy rain shell on and put on my dry rain pants. I also had a dry pair of socks that I was about to put into frozen shoes. This is going to be fun! Have you ever tried tying a knot with 10 gauge copper wire? Yeah, it’s kinda like that.
I crawled out of my tent and frantically pulled everything together as fast as I could. Actually, I just crammed everything into my pack. I really didn’t care if everything was in order. I just didn’t want to forget anything. I was only thinking, “The sooner I could get hiking, the warmer I would be!”
One special note, always sleep with your water filter if it’s going to freeze at night.
So Julie. You know that crazy TRX exercise that isolates the quads? Let’s do that for the next eight hours. I had over 6,000 feet of dissent ahead of me.
As I began my dissent, the beauty of this earth unfolded in front of me. It was actually quite moving…and quite stunning.
It was 15 miles of quad pounding to get to the bottom of the mountain. I told myself that I was done when I reached it. But, a funny thing happens to the body when it’s pushed to extremes. It responds in ways that truly amazes me.
There were about 20 hikers at the bottom of the mountain resting at a water spigot coming out of the ground in the desert. I pulled out my gear to let it dry while I made myself a real meal. I didn’t eat dinner last night because it was just too damn cold. All I had ingested was frozen energy bars.
After dinner, I could see that I had three choices. One, stay the night at the water spigot. Two, hike 3 more miles to Highway 10 and camp underneath. Three, hike 6 more miles to the other side of the highway far away from the noisy trains and cars. Which one did I pick? Yep, Sally. It was door number 3! My snowboarders all thought the same thing so we left the rest of the pack.
Okay, what a reward for putting in those extra miles. We could see everything that we had accomplished over the past two days. Oh, and knocked off 21.5 miles!!!