Day 46

Day- 46
Date- 5-29-16
Location- Side of trail
Elevation- 5,364 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 22 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 630.9 miles
Weather/Temp- clear, 70s 80s
Injuries- Hunger Injuries
Pain level- starving pains
Spirits/Morale- starving
Days without shower- 5
Hunger/craving- sky high, anything
Thoughts/Stories-

It was extra cold this morning,  making it hard to get out of my sleeping bag,  thus me getting a late start on the trail, a little after 7 am. 

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After the Virginia like landscape yesterday,  I was feeling pretty good about what might lie ahead today.  Those feelings were lies. Today was the most arid, dry,  desolate landscape that I’ve seen so far on this adventure. It was certainly a change of pace, scenery,  and difficulty. Besides the Dr. Seuss looking Joshua Trees,  there was literally zero shade.  If you could find a decent cluster of Joshua Trees,  then you were in good shape to relax in some shade. 

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Within the first three miles of the morning,  we came across the biggest rattlesnake I’ve ever seen, more than 4 ft long.  I’m guessing it was a common diamondback.  I couldn’t resist not capturing it,  so I did.  Funny enough,  the bigger ones are easier to catch than the little ones; there’s just more area to hold onto without getting your fingers too close to the sharp end.

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Even though it was easier to get a hold of, the size of it made it twice as exciting.  I was trembling in my knees and hands with adrenaline during and after the capture. It’s a feeling that I live for,  and also a feeling that I get when I hook a big fish, or jump from a high height.  That feeling let’s me know that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing…living.

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After releasing the rattler about 150 feet off the trail,  we continued on. Once at the bottom of a 6 mile descent,  the heat turned up,  and the landscape turned to real desert. Nothing but sand, rock, and Joshua Trees for as far as the eye could see. 

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We trudged through the heat of the day, and Katana didn’t flinch. As we descended a small slope,  I noticed another rattler stretched out in the trail, probably close to a hundred feet ahead.  I leashed katana to my pack and made for the snake.  It was nearly jet black, almost 3 ft long, and another easy capture. I moved this one a good ways off the trail, and on we trudged,  a slow burn through the heat. 

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No more snakes,  but tons of sand,  and a few short breaks beneath the Joshua Trees. Walking through sand was a new one; it was like taking one step forward, and a quarter step back,  especially on the inclines. 

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We finished up in the dark,  at the base of a 1,600 ft climb we’ll have to tackle tomorrow.  I’m all out of jerky for Katana, so I have to make it over 20 miles into Lake Isabella tomorrow,  or else.  I write this as I munch on pumpkin seeds, and fantasize about real food.  I’m so hungry it hurts,  but I’m surprised it hasn’t really affected me too much while walking. The  “slow burn” pace has really payed off. 

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I’m cowboy camped beneath a Joshua Tree now, in the middle of some of the most barren desert I’ve ever seen,  looking up at perhaps the most star strewn sky I’ll ever witness.  There is no moon tonight, no clouds, no towns, no false lights, and no moisture in the air, making for the clearest sky possible.  There’s so many stars out, that you can see even the faintest ones; the kind that are so faint,  they disappear when you try to focus directly on them. You can only see them perfectly in your peripheral vision. It’s so clear,  that I’ve been able to pick out 3 satellites cruising high above. It’s nights like this that will stick with me the rest of my life, standing out in my memory,  until replaced by something more spectacular that may never come…

8 Comments

  1. When I was a kid growing up in 29 Palms, CA that was a summer night pastime…watching the satellites pass over in general evening sky. Of course there weren’t as many (it was the 60s!) and my old neighbor use to tell me you could set your watch by the passing of he satellite. Thanks for bringing that memory back to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That night sky must be so amazing to see. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You are a talented writer and I know I have enjoyed reading not only your book (which I have shared with my friends and family) but also your thoughts and feelings on your current adventure. You have put a great deal of time and effort into your writing and so many of us appreciate that. I personally love Katana and wish I could give her a big hug. Keep on blogging, and trekking. We are in awe of you and your friends. As a side note, do you like mac and cheese? Perhaps that would taste good when you get your stove? Keep the faith ♡

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am enjoying reading your blog and seeing the PCT through your eyes. I thru hiked the AT last year and especially like your comparisons of the two trails. You’ve seen more snakes in one day than I saw in six months! Thank you for sharing your journey.

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  4. My knees are trembling here reading about your snake encounters lately! I don’t mind snakes but so far you’ve see enough! Seeing the night sky with no other lights is amazing. I experienced that once when skiing at Big Sky, MT. The stars where so close they touched each other. You described it just like I remembered it. Hope you have many more nights to remember like that. Be safe, Carla

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  5. Your trail name should be snake charmer. I just finished your first book and loved it. I was looking for another book from you and someone suggested your blog. I’m on day 26 of the PCT and enjoying every minute. I love your writing style. I am so glad I get to follow along your adventures. Katana is the best dog ever, other then mine. Be safe and I look forward to your book about the PCT.
    Diana

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  6. I’m meant day 46 on the trail. I have woken up 3 times during the night and read more of your blog, I didn’t realize how fast I’m going through. Addicting, your blog!

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