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Thursday, May 24, 2018

PCT - Day 35: 5/23/2018 - Sleeping on the PCT

Trail miles: 20.8. from 566.5 - 587.3
Miles hiked: 21.9

Trail flower
Quality sleep finally paid me a visit today, actually on two occasions, but we’ll get to that later.

I woke up a minute before my 5:30 am alarm. After a quick breakfast at the hotel and saying goodbye to my trail family, I caught a ride from a trail angel named Richard and I was hiking the PCT again by 7:00 am. It was so good to be back on this 18-inch wide swathe of dirt. I was home again. I hiked solo for the first big climb that rose from the desert floor and into the foothills of the Tehachapi mountains. The climb was steep, the sun was hot, my pack was weighted down with 6 days of food and 4 liters of water, but I was happier than I’d been in a few days.

steep trail with flowers
I stopped at the top of the climb in a shady spot and laid down to rest. I already missed my friends and it had only been a few hours. I thought about my recent mood swings and thought I owed my friends an apology and an explanation. I planned to at least explain my illness to them just so they had the knowledge. What they did with that information would be beyond my control. I just knew I cared about these people and it felt was the right thing to do.

Trail View
While I was sitting there, Tapeworm rolled in, followed quickly by Opera and HoosierDaddy. We enjoyed a quick break, but I wanted o have this conversation at a better time, when we weren’t all trying to beat the heat of the day.

HoosierDaddy on trail
I hiked on another 3 miles or so and found myself suddenly really tired; not “my legs are tired” kind of tired, but rather just exceptionally sleepy. I was getting light-headed and stumbling. I felt like I was going to collapse, so I stopped took my pack off, threw my Z-lite pad on the ground, laid down and I was asleep instantly. I hadn’t even taken off my shoes. I slept deeply, and woke once for maybe ten seconds when I heard a few large birds flying above me, but I instantly fell back asleep. I finally awoke nearly two hours later when a hiker playing music on a Bluetooth speaker walked by.

Hiker playing music on Bluetooth Speaker
Just Kidding - wanted to see if you are paying attention
HoosierDaddy showed up while I was rubbing the sleep from my eyes. We’d end up hiking the rest of the day together where we ran into Opera and Tapeworm at camp. There while eating dinner I had the tough discussion with them. It was received as well as something like that can be. I hope it doesn’t change our friendship for the worse.

Dinner time
HoosierDaddy had gotten word from Chilly Bin that she was taking another zero day in Tehachapi. I think it’s unlikely that I’ll see her again until maybe Kennedy Meadows, which is a bummer. She and I hiked together a lot and I enjoyed her personality and good humor.

Socks & Ziploc are also behind us somewhere. I missed hiking with Ziploc today too. She and I had essentially hiked or camped together off and on for much of the last 300 miles. We even kicked it together on our zero days in Wrightwood and Tehachapi. It was different and sort of sad that she’s now chosen to hike solo.

I think it’s healthy that people are embracing the HYOH mentality. That being said, I still miss my friends.

The moon is hovering above me right now, after I just watched a decent sunset from my tent spot.

The entire universe is encouraging long days with the later sunsets, the long waterless sections, the moon which will be full in a week or so which aids night hiking, and there are even cooler temperatures in the forecast. Part of me wants to hike those long days. Part of me wants to take long naps to wait for my friends. Part of me worries that me being far ahead of my friends is exactly what they want. So I guess in the end, I’ll just hike my own hike too. If the universe wants things to be different, I’m guessing that they will be different. Que sera sera. For now, I’m going to take advantage of the low hum of the nearby windmills to get some more quality sleep.


  1. could anyone tell me if they seen a hiker named Tinker? was near Kennedy Meadows recently- just a bit of concern but I realize cell service is spotty, thanks Donna

  2. Enjoy your new friends when you can, and miss them when you don't see them. It may not be about you, but rather about them. You may never truly know the struggles that others have because they may not wish to share them. Keep on keeping on!

  3. PS - nice bluetooth speaker....where can I get one of those?

    1. They can be found for free on the PCT, but be advised, the sound quality is constricting