I am sitting in the one internet cafe of Mt. Shasta wearing new shoes, clean socks, and clothes that smell a little less than they did when I arrived in town yesterday morning. It's been a long haul since I last posted. I've definitely found new limits. This hike is hard and requires tremendous determination and fortitude. Reaching the half way point was exciting. I remember Damien and I yelling at the top of our lungs while dancing around the monument crossing the line drawn across the trail. In some ways though it's saddening to reach half way after 3 months and 4 days of very hard hiking and look ahead. It took that long to hike 1,327 miles. I am now at mile 1,505ish with 1,150 miles to go and I can't wait to cross into Oregon next week. Total the PCT is 2654 miles long. I hope to be complete before October and avoid the snow in Washington. Hopefully I'll finish that master's application and adjust to living near cars again.
Before Old Station(my last town stop) I had begun to get really tired and had considered taking a week off the trail and working at a guest ranch for food and lodging. I was surprised with myself for feeling guilt at leaving the trail for a week to allow my body to rest. At this point Damien and I had just bumped our daily average up to a solid 25 miles a day. (SR - this means there are days where I walk more than 25.... and those days I hurt.) I ended up not stopping but continued on the next day and arrived more than 2 hours behind Damien walking into Old Station almost to exhausted to eat and shower. Damien and I both took a zero day(no miles) and left late the day after. Our no miles day we went into Redding, Damien for shoes, and me for insoles. I had discovered my entire left foot had gone numb and I was experiencing pain similar to what had caused my long stop in Idyllwild(mile 200 or so). After much discussion with other hikers it was decided I don't get arch support. We looked at my insoles and we were all surprised to see holes worn into different places. This past 100 miles I decided to invest in new/better shoes and insoles made for heavy hiking.
In Old Station, I found myself in the company of many hikers: Jake the Rabbit, Balls, Sunshine, Yurtman, Bump, Blue Butterfly, One Step, Guardian Angel, Steady Eddy, Motor, Neon, Avo, Max Chill, and Mike(yea he caught up). Mike, Damien, and I left late in the evening to get in a night hike through the hot Hat Creek Rim section of trail. We camped after 10:00pm and began hiking again around 4:00am. Later in the morning, Damien who has been a joy to hike with rolled his ankle again. This time though he was unable to put any weight on it. Mike took his pack and began walking down the trail after the decision was made to get Damien off the trail and to the closest road. I kicked debris from the trail so he could hop the .5 miles a little easier. Smiles a Swiss/French woman with 30 years of mountaineering and hiking experience arrived for the .25-.5 mile of off trail walking. She got a log and had Damien sit on it while she and I carried him to the road. Afterward Smiles and Mike left to continue hiking. I stayed with Damien for a little while before leaving to walk down the road a couple of miles until I got cellphone service. I called the Trail Angels in Old Station, they drove over, picked me up, and we went back to get Damien. He's currently still in Old Station on crutches. After a few days of rest the Old Station Trail Angels took him to the hospital to make sure he didn't tear any ligaments. He got the okay, but he will be off his ankle until it's back to 100%.
I continued on to the water cache 8-10 miles further and camped with Smiles, Redhead, Mike, Shroomer, Little Engine, and Plain Slice. We camped along the Hat Creek Rim Ridge in tall dry yellow grass with an amazing view of the sunset beside Mt. Shasta and on the exact opposite side the almost full moon was rising. It was beautiful and we joked we were cowboy camping in Africa. You would have liked it.
I am excited to say I will get a few days off from hiking. A close friend has agreed to pick me up off the trail to celebrate our birthdays(his is one day before mine.) I hope to get in 400 miles before August 15 so please wish me luck.
I'm running out of computer time, but I hope to update again in Etna, 100 miles from here.(4.5 days?) I will be continuing on alone from Mt. Shasta. Smiles, Shroomer, and Mike left at the crack of dawn today. I needed to catch up on emails and phone calls. I also would really like to keep distance between Mike and I. But I hear Slimjim is catching up and I expect he is closing the distance between us as I type. I think he's 30 miles or less behind me so I expect to see him in the next week or so.
Gear - I am definitely thinking of getting a new backpack as my current one has gotten a hole in the bottom that no amount of self repair has fixed. - - fingers crossed it will last me another 400-500 miles?
Pictures - If you would like to see more pictures please check out my facebook albumns - my mum has recently posted the rest of the Sierras.
Email - having problems getting my gatech email. Please be patient if I haven't responded yet!!!
I hope everyone is doing well and taking care. Miss everyone!
- Golden Child