Racing Winter on the Pacific Crest Trail – Day 94

​Day- 94

Date- 7-18-16

Location- Truckee

Elevation-  5,896 ft

Distance Traveled Today- 25.7 miles

Distance Traveled Total- 1,153.4 miles

Weather/Temp-  clear 60s 70s

Injuries- none

Pain level- low

Spirits/Morale- exasperated

Days without shower- 0

Hunger/craving- low


I ignored the 5 am alarm,  and was instead hiking before 6:30. It was windy as hell,  all day.  Some gusts were strong enough to make me stumble sideways,  as a good portion of the day was on open ridges.

I crossed over 2 big passes today,  plus a couple other good climbs.  Once again,  I found myself very bored with the relentless pace. I had plans to do 33 miles today,  but had a personal revelation atop one of the wind swept ridges.  A revelation that sort of negates my feelings and goals from the last couple days.  I can only guess that it’s because I’m beginning to think a bit clearer now that I’m getting some more “trail time.”

I spoke to Schweppes around noon,  while sitting atop one of the passes.  He’s been doing 25+ miles a day,  and talked about doing some 30 to 35 mile days.  I was not happy to hear this.  Schweppes is very competitive  (I can be too), and when he knows that I’m going to be pushing big miles,  I know it kills him to not try and match them.  For example,  if I did a 40 miler, he’d have to do one,  if only to prove to himself that he could.  I understand it,  cause I would feel the same way; we both challenge each other.  So when he hears that I’m going to be pushing consecutive 30s, he wants to prove that he can too. That’s all well and good,  but these are special circumstances,  if anything,  he should be doing half days,  but I don’t think he can even force himself to do it.  So when he told me that he was pretty much taking it to the “max” every day,  I got a little frustrated.  If he’s going to push big days every day,  then I have to push huge days every day,  and even then,  I would only be closing the gap by 10 or so miles (at the most) every day. Long days, every day, missing town visits,  not getting to interact as much with other hikers.  Not the hike I want to hike.  On top of that,  Schweppes recited the dates that he would be in certain towns,  plus his forecasted “finishing” date.  I did not come out here to put myself on a schedule.  If I wanted to be on a schedule,  I’d go back home and get a job. I don’t mind having a window time for certain locations,  but for the most part I want to go with the flow.

This was the revelation/self talk that I had with myself. I made peace with the idea that I may not finish the trail with Schweppes, or even see him again on this hike.  I could chase him down,  but it wouldn’t be fun for me,  I’d miss out on a lot, and I wouldn’t be hiking “my hike.”  For me, long distance hiking is 50% about the hike,  and 50% about the places,  people, food,  and experiences. The hiking and the solitude enriches the latter.  I’m going to continue to hike my big days,  but I’m not missing/skipping any opportunities to make side trips into towns,  or whatever may lie shortly off the trail.

My food situation got tricky today, and contributed to my decision to go into town.  I’ve been packing out some old jerky that I had today at lunch.  Within two hours,  I had diarrhea and sharp stomach cramps. My only other snack foods were some cheese,  and these weird chocolate brownies that I picked up in Tahoe the other day,  right before I hiked out.  They were a terrible mistake.  They’re dry as the desert,  and eating them is like eating chocolate flavored sawdust.  I have to force them down,  and even then I feel like I’m going to puke.

So shortly after 5 pm, I’d completed nearly 26 miles,  and reached a road into the town of Truckee. I’d done more than 60 miles in 2.5 days. I had planned to go almost 8 miles further,  and had plenty of time to do so, but I decided to put my new hiking strategy into effect immediately.

I stuck out my thumb,  and to my complete surprise,  the first vehicle to go by pulled over.  The young man inside called out his window “You passed me coming down a mountain near Dick’s Pass on Saturday,  I remember those shorts!”  Very cool coincidence. The young man’s name was Joey, and he gave me one of my quickest rides into town, ever.

I threw away all my saw dust brownies and rotten jerky and bought new snacks at the local supermarket. I’m not giving myself a deadline to get back to the trail tomorrow,  but I’ll hike hard whenever I get there.

It was a tough decision,  but I feel much better making peace with myself over it. I’m going to continue to smell the roses and make the most out of this journey that feels like it’s been turned upside down at the moment. There are people out there that can only dream of doing what I’m doing right now,  and it would be an insult to take it for granted, or rush through it.  I’m anxious to see how my hike transpires from here,  under these new circumstances…

Go to day 95.


  1. And speaking of Ashland you are still welcome to our guest room/bath since this is one of hikers favorite stop overs. Not sure if you still have my phone # I left you on PM via FB since that is shut down? Please let me know where I can securely give that back to you if you need it in case you’d like to call for a ride in from Callahan’s there when you reach the I-5 crossover. I’m sad to not meet Katana but you did the right thing. This trail has certainly been a test of strength and determination on so many levels. We will welcome you in Oregon!

  2. You are coming into the most beautiful part of the walk. When you get to Ashland have a beer for me.

  3. Kyle,
    You are doing an amazing job at working through the obstacles that have been thrown at you lately. Taking Katana home was a noble, kind and thoughtful decision and as hard is it may have been and continue to be you did the right thing. You care and think more about her than most people think about the well-being of their own human families. I have appreciated (in your book) and continue to appreciate your views on the way other people live their lives and am in complete agreement with you in not understanding their need to try to be a million different things and their sensitivity to certain matters. It is refreshing to know that while being surrounded by many people who don’t understand my views on life that you do. Your posts are humble, thoughtful, self aware, and relatable and reading your posts helps me remind me to live in the present and appreciate it. Thank you for sharing your experience and know that through the ups and downs your followers are here for you and support you through your journey. Keep up the great work!

  4. I cannot tell you enough times what a talented writer you are. I look forward to reading your blog and finding out where you are and what you have been up to. I am so very sorry about Katana, but you absolutely made the right decision to bring her home. I am sure it must have been one of the most difficult choices you had to make, but it was a very selfless choice and she will be ok, even if she loses her eye. I am so, so sorry. In regard to your thoughts about slowing down and enjoying the time you have on the trail and smelling the roses on the way…that is what hiking is all about, isn’t it? That competitive edge you have is completely normal and fighting that urge to push through is tough., but in the long run, enjoying and experiencing the little things along the way will be worth it. Just saying you “did it” is not the same as saying you “experienced it”. I continue to pray for you and little Katana and hope only the best for you. Thank you for sharing your honesty with us all 🙂 Annie

  5. My goodness. What a journey you are on! Very proud of you even though we have never met. I am truly enjoying reading about your hike. Your blog entries are like poetry. You’re a skilled writer, hiker and adventurer. The Katana saga is heart wrenching. I will keep you and Katana in my thoughts and prayers.

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