What was I thinking?

Major dew at dawn! Cold and windy. Broke camp by 0540. It was a nice day, pretty, but I had various foot pains that made me really wonder if I could do six 20 mile days in a row.

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You know you’re on the PCT when you see trekking pole marks like that!

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I passed by Goulet and Space Kitty around 0700 as they were breaking camp. Good to see them and lifted my spirits.

IMG_0402I felt better in the afternoon and made good time to Willow Spring. At one point I had to down climb this steep (dry) stream channel. It had some seriously sketchy parts where I was a bit concerned about my safety. Cliffs and loose dirt.

Then when I was down, I walked down the wash, following mostly cattle trails, until I came upon a dirt road and a fenced off area. I was thinking the fence was to keep the cattle out of the spring and I walked around until I found the “human hole” in the fence.

The spring was a cement cylinder sunken at ground level with the water about two feet down. I found out later someone had left the lid off (which is big, concrete, and heavy) and a dead rodent had been fished out of it a few days ago. I didn’t filter it, and I’m glad I didn’t know about the dead rodent until later.

I knew I couldn’t go back to the trail the way I had come, up that dry stream canyon. There was a long way, but in the end I made my own route. I saw some sort of trail going straight up the ridge, heading toward the PCT, so I charged up that.

Once I got up top, and started going down the other side to meet the trail, I started looking for camp spots.

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It was getting late and I was very tired, but it was cold and windy and there was nowhere to take shelter. I finally found a tiny spot behind some bushes and Joshua Trees that turned out to be surprisingly good.

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That night I realized I had planned a 27 mile day tomorrow to give myself an easy day on my birthday. I had failed to consider needing to go an extra 1.4 miles off trail for water or the huge climb. But I consoled myself that I could still make it to Kennedy Meadows on time if I could do 20 miles a day. I’m worried that I can’t fall behind, and yet the pace is too fast. I wish I could slow down, take more breaks and enjoy it more.

Another pair of socks has holes. My gloves are falling apart. I don’t have much food. Looks like I might be hungry on my birthday. Sad face.

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