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Friday, June 22, 2018

PCT - Day 64: 6/21/2018 - Zombie hiking, random thoughts, and Ant Power

Trail miles: 19.3 from 1016.9 - 1036.2
Miles walked: 20.5

Yes today was the international “hike naked” day. I didn’t see anyone participating unfortunately.

$35 at Kennedy Meadows North gets a shower, laundry, and a bed in a dorm. After drinking a lot of beer and wine I barely even woke up at 2:00 am when the generator turned on for some unknown reason. When it did, our room was lit up with bright light. I slept through that, but woke up at 4:45 am for no reason and never really got back to sleep.

We ate breakfast and Dan, the bartender from the saloon, gave us a ride to the trailhead. It took me a while to get into hiking mode. I felt like just taking a nap for much of the day.

I hiked by myself all day and barely talked to anyone for longer than a minute or so. I really miss my trail family from the pre-Sierra days. It was nice to have lunch with people on occasion. Now I’m often finding myself in zombie hiking mode listening to music.

The day started with a climb up over 10,500 feet. The views along this part of today’s hike were great but not as picturesque as the Sierra. 

I would have given up these views to not have to deal with more snow. On the north side, when I started descending, the trail was difficult to locate in all the snow. This made for some slow going, postholing, and route finding until I finally found a trail again.

I had started on the trail shortly after 8:30 am. By noon I’d only covered about 7 miles. I sat down and ate lunch by a creek and spent half my lunch break swatting flies. I was intrigued at the power of one ant, when it began dragging away a dead fly body.

Another random thought I had at lunch is wouldn’t it be cool to know the history behind every log you seen on the forest floor? Was it wind? Was it heavy snow? Was it bark beetles? When did this tree become a log? Was anyone ever around to see this?

I also thought about how the trail teaches us to not delay saying things to those we care about. It’s entirely possible a hiker you’re friends with and hanging out with for weeks can suddenly be ahead or behind you. Without cell signals for the majority of the time, sometimes you don’t even know. The point is, if you want to communicate how important another person is to you, do it now. I think this is a good principle to apply to off-trail life too.

As an example, I know a guy who was not super close to his father. There were conversations that were always delayed and feelings never openly communicated. Then one day the father died of a heart attack and those unsaid things died too and left a hole in that guy’s heart for a long time. The point is, express yourself. It’s good to live with no regrets.

After lunch, I zombie-hiked through the noticeable heat wave, which appropriately showed up on the first day of summer. I hiked through the forest up very steep hills and down muddy slopes. One of these muddy slopes got the best of me and I went for a 10 foot slide on my rear end. My freshly laundered shorts, now covered in mud.

My ankle was not good, but not the worst it’s been either. The outside of my left knee is now starting to bother me. Likely an issue caused by compensating for my shitty right ankle. That being said my main issue today was simply lack of sleep. I stopped and took a 30 minute nap on the ground at 3:30 pm. I woke up feeling better and hiked another 8 miles before settling up camp at a tent site in the forest. 

I’m camped by myself for the ?fourth? night in a row. I like the quiet that comes with sleeping in a campsite alone. I do however miss sharing good conversation over dinner. Tonight while eating I wondered again where Chilly Bin was since I think she’s the closest person from my trail family that’s behind me. She was one of my favorite people to hike with since she and I often hiked at the same pace and had good talks and good humor. I miss her singing too. I hope she catches me before I leave South Lake Tahoe next week.

I plan on getting to town on Sunday, and then taking two zero days. I plan on using one of my zero days to just play poker at a casino and rest my legs. The other zero day is likely involving a pool, a hot tub, Jessica Alba (in my dreams), and a few cold IPAs.

Since this blog post was merely a collection of random thoughts, here’s one last one. I really miss is watching Red Sox games with my wife while sitting on the couch with my two huskies, drinking a Firestone Union Jack and eating my homemade mashed potato pizza topped with mushrooms, red onion, fresh basil, and andouille sausage. I must hike faster to make it home in time for the playoffs.

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