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Friday, May 4, 2018

PCT - Day 15: 5/3/2018 - Hiker Hunger

Trail miles: 22 from 226.2 - 248.2
Miles hiked: 25.3 (that 57,558 steps according to Apple)

By the time the sun hit my back at 7:30, I had already covered about six miles. I was really wanting to put in a big mile day and wanted to gain as much elevation as possible before the sun started baking.
After stepping in the mud a few times crisscrossing Mission Creek early in the morning, I was ready for a break to dry out my socks, but I wanted to hit my goal of 10 by 10. That’s just hiker talk for ten miles by 10:00 am.

I reached my goal and took a quick break at mile 10.5 around 10:15am and ran into Rainman & TreeBeard who I would later catch up with again at a creek which would be our last reliable water source for almost 17 miles.
Resting Feet
Rainman was low on food and I had an extra dinner, so I gave him some Spaghetti. He thanked me by offering me one of his balls. (They are chocolate you sicko). TreeBeard and I both thought Rainman’s balls were very tasty and we agreed to tell all other hikers up and down the PCT just how tasty his balls are.
Rainman's balls

I hung out at the creek just kicking it with TreeBeard, Thor, and Rainman sharing some laughs. One of the things we were laughing about was a comment thread in the Guthook app that most hikers use to aid navigation. This particular site was listed as “large rusted pipe”. We all passed this three days ago. Here’s a few of the beautiful sarcastic comments we read. There were dozens more.

Shank and Pocket Knife showed up right as I was leaving. TreeBeard and I made sure they both knew that Rainmain has the tastiest balls on the PCT.

I left and hiked alone for the most part, but I had a smile on my face. I was feeling really strong. I still had plenty of fun today too. I stopped to play an entire Green Day song on air guitar. Someone ahead of me also surely heard me singing Johnny Cash at some point. I also stopped to just catch some sun and rest my feet three times too.
grassy trail
As I climbed elevation, the hot desert with it’s endless blooming flowers gave way to muddy grassland briefly, then much cooler temperatures as I walked through an old burn area.

Eventually I found myself walking through some lingering snow. I even made a little snowman cairn to mark a trail / dirt road crossing. Hopefully it made someone behind me smile.
Trail Snowman

Today was the first day that “hiker hunger” really hit me. It was insane. I was insatiable. I was eating from the time I woke till the time I climbed into my tent. Throughout the day I ate the following: (calories are estimated since I’m in my sleeping bag and I’m not fetching my food bag to verify)

3 Kind bars - 650 calories
Granola - 300 calories
Clif Shots - 600 calories
Banana Runts Candy - 400 calories
2 Protein Cookies 720 calories
Packit Gourmet Gumbo - 500 calories
Olive oil (drink it straight) - 300 calories
Smoked Almonds - 400 calories
Honey Roasted Almonds - 400 calories
White Chocolate M&Ms - 300 calories
1 of Rainmain’s balls - 100 calories
1 Macro coconut / protein bar - 250 calories
Gatorade - 200 calories

And, I could still eat a pizza if someone brought one to the top of the mountain I’m camped on. I think the hiker hunger is probably rooted in the elevation gain today. I started my day at 3129’, I am now camped at 8713’. That doesn’t even count several ups & downs too and a couple of off trail excursions. I estimate I did just under 7000 feet of elevation gain today.

I out-hiked my entire trail family from the night before, and it makes me sorta sad. There are some ahead of me, and some behind me. I’m assuming I’ll see some people I know in Big Bear Lake tomorrow, assuming I can cover 17.9 miles of downhill, and hitch into town before dark. Oddly enough, downhill hurts me more that uphill, so it’ll be another test tomorrow.

I’m encouraged by the fact my body is getting used to this repeated punishment. Let me be clear though. This in no way means I am pain free. It simply means that I am managing to push through a lot of it so far. My main concerns at this point are both my ankles.

The lure of a shower and clean clothes will fuel me tomorrow. To Big Bear and beyond!!

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