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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

PCT - Day 19: 5/7/2018 - Graffiti to Dehydration

Trail miles: 21.6 from 298.5 - 320.1
Miles hiked: 22.3

After sleeping on the beach of deep creek, I woke up at 5:15am to ducks saying in their own language “Get off my lawn!”. 

I could tell within minutes of hiking that it was going to be a scorcher. I was sweating before it was even 7:00am.

The canyon overlooking Deep Creek glowed in the early morning light. Every turn around the rim offered new vantage points. I stopped at the mile 300 mark and danced to the song Super Freak. The day was looking good, but things were going to change in the afternoon.

Miles clicked off slowly as I stopped often in the windless oven that is that canyon. Around 10:30am, after rationing water for part of the morning, I reached Deep Creek Hot Springs. Here, my first priority was water to drink. I filtered several liters and drank two liters in the next 20 minutes. After rehydrating my body a bit, I stripped off all my clothes and walked into a 115 degree hot spring and just sat and let my muscles relax.  An old naked guy walked by followed by a topless woman and I didn’t even care. I simply gave both of them a head nod and kept chilling. I would occasionally get up and move from the hot spring into the creek to cool down. But soon it was time to get out, eat, and go hike again.

I headed away from the hot spring into the heat, envious of the ones remaining. I stole one last look back and caught a naked person drop into the creek from a rope swing.

This is where my day took a quick turn for the worse. I was hiking north out of the canyon in the midday heat. The sun was destroying me. I hadn’t seen a cloud all day and a breeze was scarce. To add to my dismay, everywhere I looked were rocks covered with graffiti. It angers me so much that people can be so selfish and narcissist. I hoped... no I prayed... that I would catch one of these fuckers in the act. But instead, all I got was more heat, more sun, and more melting brain cells.

By the time I’d reached close to the next water source, I was in really bad shape. I knew I was dehydrated, even though I’d been drinking water nonstop since the hot spring. I was confused and light-headed as I stopped to piss 1/4 mile from the next creek crossing. To my alarm, my piss was copper brown. I’m not talking dark yellow or even orange, it was a brown that I’d never seen before. Let me tell you, when you know you’re dehydrated and then you see a color of urine coming out of you that is a color you’ve never seen before, it scares you. Now add in the fact you are alone in the middle of the desert and you can get an idea of where my head was at.

I hoped up at the water source, I would find Grasshopper, Anja, or NOBO Lobo who were all in front of me.

I found Anja sitting in some shade near the creek. I stumbled over, dropped my pack, and explained I was in bad shape as well as I could.

Anja immediately helped by giving me some electrolyte packages to mix with my water. After drinking two liters of water with electrolytes and putting cold water on my head and neck, I started to feel better. My brain started working correctly again, and I could once again take thoughts and make them into sentences.

I can’t thank Anja enough for being there for me today. She might’ve saved my life. At minimum, she was a true friend to a guy she barely knew at the time and for that I owe her big time.

Anja and I rested and in the shade from 1:30 until 3:30 and got to know each other a bit. We formulated a plan for the evening and the following day.

We put in another seven miles before sunset and camped in a dry creek bed, since the tent site above the creek bed was crawling with ants.

Tomorrow, our plan takes us another 22 miles for the third day in a row, where we will make camp in a room at the Best Western on Cajon Pass. A shower and a bed will be a nice treat before the following day. That insane day will be through a brutal 27 mile waterless section that also climbs over 5500 feet in elevation to the next resupply in Wrightwood.

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