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Saturday, May 19, 2018

PCT - Day 30: 5/18/2018 - A Challenging Day

Trail miles: 20.0 from 478.2 - 498.2
Miles hiked: 21.1
Trail Flowers
We left Casa de Luna at 6:30 am after eating a stack of fabulous cinnamon pancakes. Terrie & Joe Anderson are great people with exceptionally pure hearts. We gave Terrie one last hug as she dropped us off at the trail, then it was back to hiking mode.

Hiker on the Trail
I was again bringing up the rear of the group and stopping to stretch often. After about a thousand feet in elevation I got a really odd burning sensation in my right ankle. That combined with the continued pain in my wrist put me in a shitty mood. I caught up with everyone nine miles in at a spring where everyone was collecting water. I had taken a Vicodin to help with my wrist pain, but honestly it made almost no difference.

Desert Forest
After collecting water from the spring, I hiked with Hoosier Daddy, Ziploc, and Chilly Bin. I think they felt bad for me which is why they slowed down to hike with me.

Ziploc, Hooser Daddy, and Chilly Bin
The best part of my entire day was when Chilly Bin sang “Real Life” by Connie Britton. For those two or three minutes her voice silenced all doubts in my head, and temporarily dulled the pain in my wrist and my ankle. It was really beautiful, the forest itself stopped briefly and listened to her voice.

Trail View
We trudged on through terrain that switched quickly from desert to forest and back again. We took a couple breaks and during one of the breaks the inevitable discussion of how we were going to tackle the waterless section upcoming in the Mojave desert along the L.A. aqueduct. 

Horny Toad
The discussion led to some tension in the group based on some people wanting to push miles during the day, and others wanting to wait out the heat and night hike it. This conversation again brought me back into my foul mood.

When we arrived at Sawmill Campground, we met up with Opera and Tapeworm who immediately informed us of the short hike and challenging nature of acquiring water.  This was just bad news that put me over the edge with my mood. I was in pain and didn’t want any more challenges. I sorta snapped at them for relaying this information and then instantly regretted it. My hunger combined with a challenging day for my right ankle and the ever present pain in my wrist all just got the best of me.

To add to the now high stress level at camp, Ziploc realized that she’d lost a piece of gear off her pack. She hiked back to get it while Chilly Bin, HoosierDaddy, and I hiked 1/2 mile to a cistern to collect some water. The water was clear but had some interesting things that looked like small amphibious insects swimming in it.
Fetching Water
When we got back to camp, everyone sat around the picnic table cooking and eating while I just isolated myself in my tent. After an hour, I got up to eat and everyone was hanging out in their tents of at other campsites. It seems that even in the middle of nowhere on the PCT, I can’t escape myself and the bipolar disorder that I deal with every day. In the end, my bipolar disorder is a mental illness, but it’s not an excuse to just be an asshole. At mile 498 on the PCT, I am reminded how this mental illness cripples every relationship I have ever had.

I’m again lying in my tent sleepless with tears in my eyes. This time it’s because I finally understand why people in my life keep me at an arm’s length. My mood swings are hard to deal with, and even harder to understand. I don’t even understand it fully.

Trail Friends
Tomorrow, I assume much or all of this trail family will begin to distance themselves from me; a pattern I’ve seen in my life numerous times. They are all healthier than me and hike at a faster pace. If you add in my moodiness, it’s really an easy decision from their point of view.

I’m now not even looking forward to mile 500. There will be no dancing from me tomorrow. Maybe just a single depressing picture of an arrangement of rocks as I stroll right by this milestone into my second month on trail.


  1. What is the picture of the trail going into the hole about?

  2. Adam, you are stronger than you know. We all have our demons that we battle with. The trail family may surprise you. You could surprise yourself. I have faith in you.