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Friday, April 27, 2018

PCT - Day 8: 4/26/18 - Body Report

Trail miles: 21.6 from 118.6 - 140.2
Miles hiked: 23.0

[Dad editorial comment: Adam's email arrived shortly after I posted the '   A Dad Wonders' post]

Good morning from the PCT

It’s day eight and time for a status check on how my body is holding up. The long story short is that while I’m writing this laying in my tent at camp, almost everything in my body hurts.

Here’s the report card:

Head (mental toughness): B
I have moments where I really hate the desert, usually when I’m drinking from sone really shitty water source, but mostly I’m embracing the suck.

My digestive problems: C- I think I might have some intestinal parasite or bacterial infection. Time will tell. Imodium did the trick today.

My recently broken elbow: A- I’m only dealing with minor stiffness and pain at nighttime

Knees: B- My knees are doing better than I thought they would be at this point, but that’s likely due to my high intake of Vitamin I.

Ankles: C My right ankle continues to be a pain in the ass, ever since the brutal injury in 2013, but most of my problems now are Achilles tendinitis in both ankles.

A hiker's foot

Feet: C- My feet are very sore and I am really looking forward to a zero day (or two) in Idyllwild. I still have to finish a removal of an ingrown toenail that had me hobbling for the first mile today. Two blisters remain at this point. One on a toe on my left foot and one on my heel of my right foot. Again, zero days are needed for proper recovery.

My right thigh: D This is my biggest concern at this point. I have significant numbness and tingling in my right thigh. It’s numb from knee to hip during the day, and when I stop and lay in my tent, I tingles endlessly like my leg is hosting a pin and needle party.

Dehydration & Snicks

The theme for this day was hydration or the lack there of. I started my day out like I have the last four, with a mad dash from the tent at 3:45am thanks to my intestinal parasites waking up early.

I borrowed some medicine from Ranger and took off up hill at 5:40am. Up and up and up we went. There was a significant amount of elevation gain this morning, followed by an afternoon descent into the desert heat and blazing sun

Shade is good

Along the way up this morning, I picked up Vagabond’s sleeping pad which I found lying in the trail. I carried it and gave it back to him where I thought I’d find him... at the water source. In the morning Ranger and I had 8.5 miles or so to mile 127 which was the last reliable water source for 24 miles. I glanced at the water report though and saw a water source named Tule Spring at mile 137, so I only filtered 4 liters at mile 127.

Ranger made a good observation today. Basically the first 150 miles is really just a exercise in hiking from one water source to the next. I will never look at a glass of clean tap water the same again.

Ranger and I had a blast today with humorous and engaging conversation. I even made a short video during a break about our ailing feet. We discussed how there should be a word for sticks that look like snakes. I hereby dub them “snicks”; not to be confused with Snickers, which is the melted candy bar in your food bag

"Snick" (stick that looks like a snake)

When we arrived at Tule Spring we found a murky muddier stagnant mess. It smelled like sulfur and the water had visible brown and orange “floaties”in it.

Collecting water - uck!
I took a closer look at recent reports from this water source (if you could even call it that). I read about dead lizards and snakes found in the water. I also read about someone getting Norovirus from filtering this water but not chemically treating it.

Anyways, the hike to this “spring” was off trail a bit and the climb back was brutal. I was rationing the water I did have to avoid drinking this ugly water.

I was exhausted by the time we got back to the PCT. We made a valiant effort to make it to a known water cache managed by a trail angel at mile 145.5, but daylight was fading and our feet had enough for the day. Near the end of the day Ranger and I were discussing in detail Mountain Dew. Little tiny bubbles, a color that is somewhere between piss yellow and nuclear waste. We wished for trail magic of Mountain Dew and Gatorade. None was to come.
Look! Civilization and clean water

Tomorrow I’ll get to that cache early and drink all the things. I am still very much dehydrated and rationing the last liter of filtered chemical tasting sulfur smelling dead creature norovirus water that I have.

Mmmm... you could bottle this stuff and trademark “PCT Water”. The slogan for the commercials would be “PCT Water! Taste the floaties!”

Camp site or just resting in the shade?


  1. Need to comment about your right thigh numbness issue. From a guy who is plagued with back issues all his life, this sounds like a back vertebra alignment issue. Misalignment can pinch your sciatic nerve and cause this. It may be caused by the backpack weight, walking, and possibly the difference between your right and left leg length, one being 'fixed'. Suggest you look up exercises for piriformis and spine alignment, vitiamin I, and maybe a massage at your next zero day.

  2. +1 on getting a massage or visiting a Chiropractor.

  3. So this numb thigh issue has been present since my fall down Crestone Peak in September. I think walking 20 miles a day is just exasperating it.

  4. And Dad, that was a snick, not a snake. :)

    1. Fixed - Snick, snake, snicker, sicker, smitten.