Day 117: Spooky Lightning

Miles Hiked: 24

Total Milage: 2013.6

Today I woke up and left camp around 7am. We took a road walk alternate to cut off about 5 miles of the trail. I was super happy about it because my legs were so tired from yesterday and I needed a little rest. The road walk was very steep in the beginning and then mellowed out. It was very pretty as we wound our way through sage brush fields. At 10am we took a break back on the actual trail. I made two wraps. One was tuna salad and the other was chicken salad. After that we started a really long climb. Today I was able to climb a lot better than most other days. I think I was feeling good because my pack is getting lighter from eating so much food. Before the top of the climb I grabbed some awesome water from a creek.

At the top I decided to do a solo bushwhacking alternate route to avoid dropping into the valley and regaining elevation. The idea of was to gain less elevation than necessary but the opposite ended up happening. Basically, I found this awesome trail that wasn’t on a map. It was going the right direction until the tread just ended all of a sudden. I thought I needed to stay high so I started to climb. Eventually I realized I was going the wrong way. I looked down and saw a nice trail way below me. That’s where I was supposed to be! At this point my descent to the correct path would have been crazy steep so I decided to keep going up to the top of the ridge above me. It was crazy steep but it was so worth it to get to the top. I was super hungry so I made some peanut butter wraps for lunch and I had a tiny bit of service to receive some texts. I then walked the ridge back down to the trail. I ended up getting up to 10,300 feet and the trail didn’t go over 10k feet all day. Sometimes alternative routes work out in your favor, sometimes you end up almost climbing an extra mountain. Either way I really enjoy the adventure off the beaten path. The CDT has really opened me up to the idea of route finding and creating.

When I got back down to the trail I had to climb up to an exposed part for a really long time. The sky wasn’t looking good and I eventually figured out that 12 pack was somewhere behind me. I saw him coming down the ridge so I waited for him so we could hike together. We ended up setting our tents up at the perfect time as the storm started raging. The wind was blowing so hard I thought my tent might fall over. Lightning was flashing all around. After about two hours the storm blew over. We packed up our things and continued hiking.

The rest of the day was rolling hills with short climbs. The landscape was beautiful as always. We are dinner two miles from camp around 6pm. It was early for us! It started to rain so we continued hiking even though I could have sat there much longer. The rain was light but the clouds were rumbling big time. Next the rain let up and all of a sudden there was lightning all around us with no indication of where to storm really was just by looking at the clouds. Then the strikes got particularly close we decided to set up camp early. There was some great tree cover and flat spots. It was only a mile from our planned destination and it looked like we were about to be in the wide open where all the lightning was getting worse. It ended up storming all night long. This is the longest storm that has happened on the whole trail! Since we ate early I ended up getting super hungry at camp. I caved in and went to get more food even though I’d never ordinarily do that.

Happy Trails!

-Early Bird

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