Day 54: Complete Exposure and Koolaid Snowballs

Miles Hiked: 26.4

Total Milage: 855.2

Location: Creek/ Deep Jack Trailhead

This morning I woke up with dew all over all of my things. This means I’ll have to not forget to dry out my sleeping bag and puffy jacket at lunch. Luckily I woke up around 5:30 without an alarm. I didn’t end up moving around until 6am but it was still a lot earlier than yesterday! I hit the trail around 6:15 am and I was really happy to hike for an extra 1.5 hours before the heat of the day started to get bad. I left camp with Hummingbird and 12 pack but Jenga decided to sleep in. I was hoping he would at least catch up to me at a break later!

I had some service this morning so I gave my boyfriend a call. It’s always nice to talk to someone when I’m hiking. Usually the bad service is really frustrating but I got to talk to him for about 30 minutes before losing service. I took a break with 12 pack hoping Jenga would catch up, but no luck. Our first water source was a small river about 12 miles from camp. It was one of the nicer sources I’ve had in a while. The water was clear and very cold. I took advantage of soaking my feet and shins until I saw a snake swimming in the water so I jumped out. The day was getting very hot already and it was only 11am! We have been walking for days and days without any shade and it’s starting to take a toll. The last few days have been especially hot and sunny. I’m not great at remembering to reapply sunscreen but I try to!

After the river I hiked up a very steep trail next to a fence before walking across a field and on to a highway. I walked on the highway for about 3 miles before hitting a dirt road again. I took a break around 2pm with Hummingbird and 12 Pack. Still no sight of Jenga. The day just kept getting incredibly hotter. I was eager to get to camp so I kept hiking even though it was at the hottest part of the day. I eventually saw some trees and shade for the first time in about 150 miles today! I didn’t end up taking advantage of it though. The last 10 miles to camp I felt like I was hiking so slow. My back was cramping up and I felt like I could tell that the heat was taking a toll too. I stupidly took all of my breaks in direct sunlight and felt like I was roasting. The longest one was on top of a ridge with a great view and good cell service so I felt like it was justified.

As I hiked the rest of the way to camp, I started to see patches of snow on and near the trail. Ocasionally I’d grab a handful, squirt some liquid Koolaid drink mix on it and eat it like a snow cone. I ended up eating quite a bit of snow before arriving at the Deep Jack Trailhead where I met up with 12 Pack who was taking a break. We both wanted to camp there but we were also out of water so we hiked one more mile to a creek. I left Jenga and Hummingbird a note to let them know I went a little further to the water and that they should come join us! As soon as we left the trailhead, we started walking through patchy snow until we got to the creek. I was a little worried about finding a spot to camp since I hardly saw any places without snow on the ground. It was ideal, but we were able to find a bare spot near the water. I made some mashed potatoes for dinner and waited for Jenga and Hummingbird to show up. They never ended up making it to camp with us. I was a little bummed but I’m sure I’ll see them tomorrow! They most likely had water and decided to camp at the trail head. Honestly, it was probably a better spot I just don’t like carrying extra water weight when I can just walk one more mile to get it. Tomorrow we will be waking up early to hopefully be able to walk on top of the snow before it gets so warm that we start post holing.

Happy Trails!

-Early Bird

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