Location- Side of trail
Elevation- 6,683 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 34.2 Miles
Distance Traveled Total- 1,229.6 miles
Weather/Temp- clear 70s
Injuries- sore knees
Pain level- moderate
Days without shower- 1
Well, I finally stopped cutting myself short and blasted out 34 miles today. I slept in till 7am, then got out of bed feeling much better, besides some morning diarrhea. I couldn’t get a hitch back to the trail head, so after I got all packed up, left my room, then walked the 1.5 miles (uphill) back up the road to the trail, it was after 8 am.
Started the day out with a 3,000+ foot continuous climb, then a ridge walk, some Rollercoaster ascents and descents, then a couple bigger climbs in the thousand foot range and better. When all was said and done, I did more than 6,000 feet in climbs, and around half that in descents. I took three breaks all day, and finished up at 8:30 pm. I passed around a half dozen other hikers that had an entire days head start on me from yesterday.
During the first big climb, I disturbed a rattlesnake that was close to 7,000 feet in elevation. They are extremely rare above 5,000 ft, so this was a pleasant surprise. I was walking through a narrow corridor of shrubs, when I heard the unmistakable rattle. If he’d just stayed quiet, I never would have even known he was there. I pushed and pulled the bushes around trying to get a glimpse of him, but they were too thick. I gave up after a couple mins of him rattling intensely at me, then pushed on.
The rest of the day was a blur. No more animals, no conversations with other hikers. Just a steady push, breathing in the scenery…and pollen.
My knees are killing me at the moment. About 5 miles out from where I wanted to camp, they began throbbing, cutting my speed almost in half. The downhill is brutal on them, but the uphill feels good. For the first time ever, I’m enjoying the uphills.
Tomorrow my plan is to do between 25 and 35 miles again. It all depends on how I’m feeling, but 25 miles is easy these days, so I’m pretty much guaranteeing myself that much.
As I’m writing this, a pack of coyotes has begun calling in the distance. I haven’t heard the likes of them since the desert. That’s my que to take advantage of this raucous coyote lullaby.