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Thursday, June 14, 2018

PCT - Day 54: 6/11/2018 - Stalking deer, Located Kate and Food Rationing

Trail miles: 18.0 from 855.9 - 873.9
Miles walked: 20.4

I started the day hobbling down the trail for the first mile or two. My right ankle was in significant pain until the Vitamin I kicked in. After it warmed up, I was able to walk OK, just not as quickly as normal.

Welcome to John Muir Wilderness
Today we left Kings Canyon National Park and entered the John Muir Wilderness area. As if to signify this, a deer actually followed me up the trail for a while.

Stalking Deer
I hiked by myself all morning and saw more deer than I did other hikers. I wondered and worried about Sleeping Beauty much of the day. The only other hiker I saw before mid-afternoon passed me while I was filtering water.

Deer thru hiker
I climbed the 2800 feet of elevation up Selden Pass by myself. I ate lunch on the top and took inventory of my remaining food. It was depressing. This section had taken me longer than I anticipated, and I was in full rationing mode now.

The snow on Selden Pass was still annoying but there was much less than all the other passes we had done thus far. Marie Lake was pretty as was Heart Lake on the south side. Heart Lake was semi frozen and it sort of made it look like it should be named Broken Heart Lake.

After I got away from the lake and out of range of the hoard of mosquitoes following me, I found Ziploc waiting for me next to the trail. We took a break and a short nap. She napped in the shade, while I preferred the sun. Most of my nap time was spent responding to the calls from the cheeseburger birds.

We got a move on at about 2:00 pm and we crossed paths again with a few other hikers we’d seen. None of them had seen Sleeping Beauty.

Around 3:30 pm, in the peak time of day for snow melt, we arrived at Bear Creek. The ford of this creek has taken lives in the past. The current was noticeably fast, with whitecaps. We went downstream maybe 200 feet to a place that was a little less ugly, but not by much. I went across first. The water reached my thighs, but the real problem was the current. It was so fast that my trekking poles shook violently in the water. I made it across safely and watched as Ziploc carefully crossed without an issue. As we sat on a rock on the other side, I again worried about Sleeping Beauty.

We hiked another 5 miles or so, which involved several additional creek fords and one crazy creek that had a few tributaries and was covered in dead logs. Crossing it was a jungle gym exercise, moving from one log to another until you eventually end up on the final log that has you walking across the fastest moving part of the creek about 12 feet above the water. All the while you’re walking on a slight uphill angle on a log that narrows as you get closer to the end. Let’s not forget that you are doing this with shoes that are only 40% dry at best. It took great concentration not to panic or fall off here.

Crossing on a Log
At camp, we had a cell signal for the first time in almost 100 miles and I was able to message Sleeping Beauty’s boyfriend back home. He sent me back a link to Kate’s InReach tracking which showed she was alive and was camped about a mile behind us. It was a relief to know she was ok, but still a mystery to know how she got behind us in the first place. I also got a message from HoosierDaddy from two days ago saying that he and Opera had to double back to town because Opera was having bad altitude sickness. Who knows at this point where any of my trail family is.

Tomorrow, we hike .7 miles on the PCT and then 7.1 bonus miles on the Bear Ridge Trail to Vermilion Valley Resort for my first shower in a week, laundry, resupply, and a bit of rest. 

My legs are absolutely shredded from the snow, and a fall I took in a stream and they could use a zero day. My ankle is also begging for rest.  

And while all that sounds amazing, my main goal is FOOD. After I eat breakfast tomorrow, I will cover that eight-ish miles with two handfuls of honey-roasted almonds, one Kind Bar, and nine or ten Jelly Beans. That’s because that is all I have left from the 24,000 calories I left the town of Independence with back on June 6th.

After writing this, I looked up into the clear moonless sky, since I pitched my tent tonight without a rain fly, and saw five shooting stars in three minutes. I love the PCT!

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