Day 73

Day- 73
Date- 6-26-16
Location- Side of hwy 108
Elevation- 9,652 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 34.6 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 1,016.9 miles
Weather/Temp-  clear 60s 70s
Injuries- none
Pain level- low
Spirits/Morale- Titan
Days without shower- 6
Hunger/craving- buffet
Thoughts/Stories-

Today was an incredible day for me; it was the end of my Sierra Marathon.

I was hiking by 6:30 am. At 2 minutes to noon, I’d hiked 14.7 miles, crested Dorothy Pass, and walked clear of Yosemite National Park. I had lunch. At a quarter past 2 pm, I crossed the 1000 mile marker for the third time in my long distance hiking career. A little after 5 pm,  I climbed onto the ridge preceding Sonora Pass. At 8:52 pm,  I walked onto Hwy 108,  completing 34.6 miles,  my biggest day yet, and a 2 week, solo marathon hike that’s had an affect on me I never anticipated. 

The above paragraph is the speedy overview. It was one hell of a long day,  filled with more obstacles than I can immediately recall.

I began the day with a steep 1,100 foot climb that I probably should have done last night,  if only to make today that much easier. 

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I found a lake on  the far side, and the trout looked active.  I stopped twice to fish,  but had no luck.  I need more tackle…

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I started crushing trail after that, and found myself on a 7 mile slog through mud, grass,  creeks, and streams.  The mosquitos were maddening! It was no day to pick and choose your path through the obstacles. I went straight through everything; no looking for solid ground,  no rock hopping. Soggy, muddy shoes and feet, with a side of countless mosquito bites.  That was my morning.

I crested the snow covered Dorothy Pass just before noon, logging nearly 15 miles.  I was pooped.  I took 45 minutes to eat and rest, then caught my second wind.

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Busted out a six mile downhill fraught with even more mosquitos, water crossings, and snowpacks. I lost the trail once again in the scattered snowpacks, burning up more precious daylight. Shortly after finding the trail,  I passed the 1000 mile mark.

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Next was a 7 mile climb to the top of the ridge that would lead me to Sonora Pass  and Hwy 108. This climb, especially the last few miles through snow and over shale rock  (all makeshift, non original trail) completely wiped me out, but upon reaching the ridge crest, I caught my third wind.  It was totally open,  and reminded me a lot of Franconia Ridge in the White Mountains on the AT.

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The ridge Rollercoastered over broken rock, snow,  and dirt for miles. It wasn’t too bad,  but after nearly 30 miles already,  I was getting worn out.  The constant switching between snow slogs and loose rock was draining me.  I just wanted to get it all done before dark,  and time was running out. 

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Within the last 4 miles,  at 11,000 feet, a huge buck Mule Deer charged up the ridge like it was his job, and began walking along the crest above me,  silhouetted against the dusky sky. He struck an iconic pose, looking out across the world,  and it was the most incredible, iconic thing I’ve ever seen. The ridge was barren, why would he come all the way up here? To show off?  To survey his kingdom?  I have no idea,  but I felt incredibly lucky to witness such an event

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After some very, very sketchy scaling, and glissading of a snowy wall, then some trail blazing,  I hit hwy 108, just before 9 pm,  with slivers of daylight to spare. 

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I’d done it.  35 miles before dark.  No more killing myself, day in and day out. Sierra Marathon complete,  with a day to spare. 

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What I thought might kill me,  ended up being one of the greatest growing and learning experiences of my life.  I thought my body would break,  but instead did just the opposite. Instead of falling apart as time went on,  it only continued to get stronger, the more I put it through. The entire marathon culminating into the biggest day I’ve ever done on trail; a fitting finale. 

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I’m now cowboy camped next to the Hwy. Tomorrow I’ll hitch into Bridgeport, and get my little CatFox back either tomorrow, or the next day

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I feel like a Titan

14 Comments

  1. Congratulations on this endeavor. I had no doubts that you would complete this trek….anxious for you & Katana to be together once again……y’all have lots to discuss….

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  2. What an awesome end to a great two week trek through the mighty Sierras. I so enjoy peeking over your shoulder throughout this hike. Hoping to follow in your footsteps in the near future. Happy to hear you have stayed in the moment!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! What an accomplishment… a true testament to what the human spirit can endure and accomplish when driven by determination, fortitude, and the sheer force of will to bring a goal into fruition! Glad you got through it all safely. I know Katana will be so happy to be reunited with you! Now, rest for a while…
    M

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  4. Great to see your posts appear in my inbox. The friend who pointed me to your blog and I have been wondering how you’ve been doing. What a journey – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual! Thank you for sharing it with us. Wishing you a happy reunion with Katana and a safe continuation for you both.

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  5. Thank you so much for your inspiration. I love how you describe your feelings of elation when running down the mountain to “Hey Jude”…and I am sure you were singing loudly as well. There is a song by Ray Lamontagne called “Be Here Now” which I think is another great song about being in the present moment and just appreciating it. I also loved your poop story omgosh too funny….and love what you said about how the best places are harder to get to and you like it that way. Can’t wait for you to reunite with Katana and hear more adventures. Keep the faith. ♡

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  6. Titan: that is a fitting description of you.What an amazing day! And your photos are beautiful. I am looking forward to your next post,especially since Katana will be back:)

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  7. I’ve been following you for about a month now. Caught up on the beginning of your journey and am so excited to see you didn’t have to bail. I’ve been following PCT blogs for the past 2 seasons and yours is by far one of my favorites. So sorry you couldn’t bring Katana through the Sierras but as I am sure you know, everything happens for a reason. Reading through your Sierra marathon was incredible and fascinating and magical! Happy trails to the rest of your journey and lol forward to hearing about your reunion with your fur baby.

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  8. Love that you are getting stronger and stronger but in the back of your mind you knew the end meant your fur baby will be reunited with you. Wish I could see the reunion. It will be sweet. Be safe, have fun. Carla

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  9. I’m playing catch-up here and have spent the last few days reading your PCT blog from the beginning. Great writing and pictures! So happy that you made your deadline to get your fur baby back on the trail with you. I’m looking forward to continuing to follow you on your journey!

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