21.1 miles (Miles 613 – 634.1)
PCT Mile 613 – PCT Mile 634.1
Today was a serious hiking day. It was mostly all about pushing through heat to get to water.
Remember that thing I said yesterday about transitioning to new scenery? Mountains and trees and things? This trail constantly surprises me. We got up this morning and hiked out of the trees and right back into the hot desert. The only difference between this part of the desert and the last stretch we went through is this one somehow felt hotter, drier and it appeared to be even more barren. We did climb a lot, so that gave us awesome views, but it was hard. The trail all day so far has been mostly deep, soft sand, too. That made it harder. And slower.
Oh, did I mention there’s not much water out here, either? Our water report talks of springs that aren’t flowing. You have to dig a hole, let it fill, then scoop out the water. We haven’t had to do that though. At least not yet. We were able to push ourselves through the intense heat of the day to another cache that was – get this – fully stocked! Thank you to Mary Barcik from Welden! You have been a life-saver! Without these caches out here, this hard stretch would be almost impossible. I don’t know how people did this before these trail angels like Mary dropped water. They must’ve carried 24 pounds of it – I have an awful lot of respect for them, that’s for sure!
So now we are on siesta. We have water, shade, we ate food, and soon I will nap. Then I will have coldish coffee – as “cold” as water can be after sitting in this sun for hours… so warm coffee, I guess. Then we hike a few more miles and camp. So far, it’s been a good, satisfyingly challenging day. Pretty serious stuff, though. I can’t wait for the next creek, river or lake that I can jump into and play in. I wonder how far away that is… good thing to think about before my nap. :)
Well, I wasn’t able to nap much. It was pretty hot, even in the shade. We got going a short while later and made a pretty awesome climb to a nice little ridge with an open view of the sunset and some far-off mountains, and our regular nightly bat-friends swooping down in front of us giving a little show. They actually get pretty close to us – okay with me! Eat them bugs up, little bats!
So the last few miles – they were a struggle for me. Not so much physically, though. I was really tired and felt disconnected… but my body is holding up great and I’m really happy with it. I am, however, going through a series of emotional things. Being really positive, happy and silly is the way I like to roll, but this stretch hasn’t really given me the opportunity to let that out. I feel kind of sad, but I’m hoping things will pick up when we reach the Sierras. I might actually have to admit that the desert today made me a little crabby! I may have to come back and rehike this section some day in a different frame of mind… because it’s really beautiful… and tough… and everything I’d normally jump all over.
My thought of the day today: “I feel like I’m tough as nails today… wait, no. I’m tough as a railroad tie.”
Powering through oven-hot, sandy, sweaty, long climbs made that thought come to mind.
Tonight I love water. There is nothing that tastes better when hiking in the heat. Nothing.