Racing Winter on the Pacific Crest Trail – Day 8

Day- 8
Date- 4-21-16
Location- spring near road
Elevation- 3,481 ft
Distance Traveled Today-  23.9 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 101.1 miles
Weather/Temp- clear 70-80
Injuries- sore knees,  sore feet
Pain level- low
Spirits/Morale- High
Days without shower- 2
Hunger/craving- low


We left stagecoach at 7 am via trail angel Christina’s vehicle, and were hiking about 15 mins later.  Our task of the day, to climb up the San Felipe mountains, then make our way north westerly across them.


Since Katana had been such a trooper at the vet’s office,  and because I was sure she was still a little sore,  I gave her a free pass for the day.  Out of the nearly 24 miles that we hiked,  I happily carried Katana for 22 of them.  She hiked about a mile in the morning,  and a mile in the evening.  She walked perfectly normal,  but every so often she would give a little hop; I assume when something prodded her in the sore area.

Early in the morning, another hiker in the area called back to us that there was a snake in the trail.  I set Katana down and hiked quickly over to investigate.  It was a snake I’d never caught, nor seen before,  but I knew right away it wasn’t poisonous.  I could also tell by the shape of its head that it was some species of boa,  but I also incorrectly speculated that it might be a certain species of King snake,  based on the blunted tail that I thought I recognized from a King snake I saw as a kid.  My gut told me it was a boa,  and the Internet later confirmed that it was in fact a “Rosy Boa.” It was extremely docile,  and after handling it for a few mins,  taking some pictures and video,  I sent it on its way.


The rest of the day proved mostly uneventful.  It was a long, hot, day,  walking just below the crest of the mountains, passing cacti,  rocks, and other desert scrub.  I laid down for an hour and a half at 12:30 with Katana,  then walked another few miles to a water cache where I met back up with Schweppes.  We lounged in some shade afforded by some scrub bushes until 5 pm.


It was during this break that I had my first stroke of bad luck.  I opened up the top pouch of my pack to get my battery pack out, only to realize that it was covered in Vaseline. My heart immediately sank add I realized the situation.  My 4 ounce container of Vaseline had popped open due to katana sitting on top of my pack for so long,  and had spilled all over everything in my top pouch.  My toilet paper bag,  my knife,  Katana’s meds, my battery pack, my medical supplies, toothbrush,  USB cords, wallet, filter, everything!  Since it had been so hot,  the Vaseline had been more or less a liquid, and had gotten everywhere.  It took me over half an hour,  and all of my toilet paper to clean everything.

After we left that spot,  we hiked another 10 miles to a natural spring, 4 of those miles in the dark,  lit only by the full moon, crossing the 100 mile mark,  and arriving a little after 9. There were trees, but they were spaced out,  so I threw down my sleeping pad, and here I lay on the ground.  No bug net,  no tent; just the sky above me,  and a blindingly bright moon that I can unfortunately  see through my eye lids.


We only have a little over 8 miles into the next town,  and I’m looking forward to finding something cold to drink. Drinking water as hot as the desert is not in the least bit refreshing, however it does keep you alive…

Go to Day 9.

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