PCT Day 97: Hitting the Wall

Miles Hiked: 36.5

PCT Mileage: 1820.9

This morning I decided to sleep in since I had such a rough day yesterday. I decided I would take the day to hike alone and go my own pace and I was happy about it. I would just meet Diva in the next town because I didn’t feel good enough to keep up. Despite trying to sleep, I still left camp at 6am. An hour can make all the difference in a day. Gushers and I left camp at the same time. I took time to stretch and roll my feet before leaving. After five miles I already wanted to sit down and take a break because my feet felt so bad and I felt exhausted. The trail was flat but it still felt like it took me so much effort to move. When I went to sit down at mile five the bugs were so bad that I couldn’t relax and I had to keep moving. Luckily I only had to walk less than a half a mile before the bugs calmed down and I could sit down to eat and roll out my feet.

After my break I continued on. I had 13 miles to go from camp to my first water source but I was quickly running out of water faster than I thought. I had the option to go 0.2 miles off trail to a lake. Despite the fact that I hate going off the trail for water, I decided to take care of myself and drink all the water I needed and suck it up and do the extra miles. I was feeling absolutely terrible in every sense of the word. My upper body felt exhausted, I was super hot, and my legs felt like lead and tender to touch. I barely made it to the small lake. I decided I would sit there for at least an hour no matter what. It didn’t matter that it was late in the morning and I had hardly hiked at all. I needed to prioritize myself over the miles today. Luckily I had cell service here and I got to talk to my best friend Teresa on the phone for over an hour. I gravity filtered my water while I was talking to her. I also took some vitamins.

Eventually I continued on. It was noon and I had only hiked 11 miles. 3 more to the next water source. They went by quicker. I somehow found a sort of energy burst to get through it. Once I got to the next water I skipped it because I still had a liter. I kept walking downhill to the water at the bottom of it in Honeymoon Creek. During this time helicopters were flying all around. I originally thought maybe someone had to be rescued but the more helicopters I saw and the longer it lasted the more I realized something else was going on. Fire. They were fighting a fire. I didn’t see any smoke in the air. Eventually I could see the helicopters picking up water out of a lake about 1-0.5 miles from the trail. I got nervous and sent my dad a message on my satellite phone to see if he could check for updates about a fire by me. At honeymoon creek I realized I was going to have to do a very long water carry. The longest carry of the whole trail. 20 miles all the way to Crater Lake. I wasn’t mentally prepared. I also knew that the trail was going through an exposed burn zone directly after the water as well. It was 2pm and very hot outside.

I sat in the shade for about another hour here. I didn’t want to move. I felt like falling asleep but I didn’t have enough food to stay there and I didn’t want to hike far tomorrow. Eventually I left because I thought I should at least make it 25 miles today. Once I started walking I was drink water like crazy. Before honey moon creek I had already drank four liters. I was dehydrated and I knew it. My pee was dark yellow and I couldn’t quench my thirst. I carried 4.5 liters of water, a first since the desert. Thankfully I had the capacity to carry that at all. Eventually the trees I was under ended and I walked into a previous burn area that was completely exposed to the sun. No shade anywhere and I realized I made a mistake of starting my day so late. I am someone who thrives in the heat compared to most and I was absolutely suffering today. I got through the section five miles at a time stopping to take many breaks. I decided to keep going all the way to Crater lake. I felt like something wasn’t right with how bad I was feeling and I just wanted to get to town. I ended up drinking 3/4.5 liters I carried for a total of 7 liters for the day and my headache wouldn’t go away. I got service and found out from my dad that the fire I was concerned about was only a few miles from me at the time. It was 7:30 pm and I still had eight miles to hike. I pushed on into the night picking up my speed as it got darker. I hiked until 9:20 pm before I had to turn on my phone flash light. I stopped to grab some peanuts out of my pack for dinner.

I hit the road at 10:30pm and stopped immediately to roll out my feet. I was in so much pain but glad to be done with most of my miles for the day. All I had to do was walk down the road to Mazama Village. The stars were incredible as I walked down the road in my own silence. I thought this would be one of my fav PCT memories. Once I got into the park, I started to look for Diva. I had no idea how I was going to find her camp spot in the dark. Luckily she saw my headlamp and came to get me and bring me to a campsite with Jay Bird and a section hiker named Sherpa who I met in Nor Cal. I was wrecked but glad to be done and get to sleep. I am sleeping in tomorrow!

Happy Trails,

-Early Bird

Published by Deserrae Potts

Thru Hiker Blogger

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