79. June 28: Mile 1112.35 Campsite to Mile 1127.04 Campsite
I found a dollar! More on that later.
We hiked several trails today. The Pacific Crest Trail, the Pacific Crest Above The Trail, The Pacific Crest Near The Trail, the Pacific Crest Around The Trail, and the Pacific Crest Stream. It was an off again, again relationship we had with the PCT throughout the day. In the morning there was mostly snow with sporadic portions of dryish ground so it was more navigating near or around the actual trail. The middle of the day was actually spent on the trail itself, but a lot of it was basically a small stream due to the massive snow melt going on right now. The afternoon was somewhere above the trail due to incredibly steep snow slopes that we had to navigate down which I’ll talk about in a bit. But first, I found a dollar!
So in the morning while still in the snow fields I looked down and noticed an incredibly poorly designed piece of money with our beloved wooden toothed (it was actually hippopotamus teeth, for the record) first president of the American States of United or something like that. I’m referring to George Washington in case you’re not familiar with King George’s dental history. Anyway I found a dollar! On the trail! It was pretty cool!
Fast forward to breakfast and before we were about to leave Cougar discovered a packet of gummies in her hip belt pocket (finding food in random parts of your pack is like discovering forgotten Christmas presents addressed to you in the closest months after the holidays have past). I jokingly said that I’d give her the dollar in exchange for the gummies, but actually taking any amount of food from someone even for money, especially when you’re in full ration mode is rather frowned upon.
So fast forward again to later in the morning when we finally had some clearish trail to hike on and Glowworm discovers an individual package of gummies lying in the muck. I was immediately filled with jealousy. I have been running out of food fast for three days and I’m not quite sure if I’ll have enough to satisfy me so when I saw her find my tongue started salivating and my hiker hunger compelled me to do the unthinkable. I offered her my newly found dollar in exchange for the gummies. Ugh, I can feel the pain of the dollar leaving my hand still as I lie here in my tent. It makes me weep, but Lord have mercy was it so worth it.
Okay, I feel that it might be necessary before my mom gives me a concerned and condescending phone call about eating random things out of the dirt that I explain myself. Yes, the package was sealed. No, there was not any filth or hint of infiltration inside the package. I am a big boy and have eaten many items off the ground in the last couple months so my body is used to it. Just not ascending several thousand feet in a matter of hours, apparently.
Speaking of food, at lunch after eating a makeshift BBQ pork sandwich (which I made from a tortilla, two single packets of spam, and a bit BBQ sauce I stole the hospital) I had to take a hard look at my food situation. I wasn’t expecting my metabolism to come back really pissed off after two weeks of basically lying in bed and being a useless human being, but apparently I really angered it. Anytime we stop I devour my snacks and have been surprised to see them dwindle so quickly. It occurred to me that I failed to add a block of cheese and a second box of cookies tommy resupply so that hasn’t helped. I do think, though, that the snow has had a lot to do with it. This shit is hard work. I know I make light of pretty much everything on this blog, but I can’t describe to you how difficult trekking through this snow is. Navigating is hard, walking on it is hard, it’s stressful, it’s dangerous, and it burns an enormous amount of calories. It’s also a hell of a lot of fun. Long story short, I can make it to what I think will be two more days (it’s hard to know since we don’t know how much is snow covered and how much isn’t), but I’m really going to have to stretch this food and start counting cookies.
We were fortunately able to make some pretty good miles today due to the long snowless stretch through the middle of the day. That changed very quickly when we went over a ridge near the end of the day onto the north side of the slope. Fucking crazy. Extremely steep snow covered north facing ridge going straight down at least several hundred feet. Dr. McDirty and Cougar had already sent their ice axes home thinking that the trail would be more tame, but fortunately Glowworm and I had kept ours.
This was by far the scariest section of trail that I have done. Glowworm went first kicking in foot holds into the soft snow at a snails pace with our ice axes out in case well slipped and fell. The slope was somewhere around a 60 degree angle and we had to switch back down it to the tree line where it leveled out a bit, but not much. It probably took us somewhere along the lines of half an hour to make it down into the exposed valley instead of the ten minutes it would have taken if it was just dry trail. It was both terrifying and exhilarating.
Hopefully tomorrow once we climb back up the other side of the ridge the snow will take a back seat so we can make some good miles again. I’m hungry and don’t want to have to ration my food, especially my cookies and gummies.