Location- side of trail
Elevation- 8,940 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 16.1 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 632.8 miles
Weather/Temp- cloudy, rain, 60s, 70s
Pain level- none
Wildlife encounters- none
Human Beings encountered on trail- 6
Thru hikers encountered on trail- 6
Days without shower- 0
Days without laundry- 4
After a very slow and drawn out morning, seven of us piled into the cab/bed of the white pickup that would take us back to trail. The driver was Sam, the owner of the only motel in town, which consisted of four rooms built in his backyard. He regularly shuttled hikers to and from the trail, asking nothing in return. Of course it goes without saying, when someone helps hikers that much out of their own pocket, you throw them a couple bucks as a thank you, as well as to keep the good will rolling with future hikers.
It was about 1pm when we got back on trail and although we’re not exactly an official group, we all hiked more or less together for what was left of the day. The cast of characters consists of 6 guys (including myself) and one female. The guys are Funny Bone from California, Stomper from Quebec, Red Bass from California, Mongo from California, and Puma from Ohio. The girl’s name is Sonic and she’s also from Ohio and has blue highlights in her hair.
The trail was unlike anything I’ve seen up until today. High desert in the form of wide open sage brush desolation. I found the barren-ness and exposure incredibly beautiful. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, even on the PCT; as diverse as it was.
To start things off, we began a climb to over 10,200 feet, the new highest point on the trail going south so far. Got caught in a short storm on the way up and laid low in some rocks.
As far as the state of the trail goes, it looked almost like a dirt road, however I’m fairly certain it was a physical border that had been rutted out to mark the boundaries of Montana and Idaho. Normally roads (even jeep roads) mean that you’re going to have decently graded trail. This was not the case; this track/trail/road/border stuck to the ridgeline and went straight up and down every obstacle.
Today was the first day walking that my knee no longer pulled or hurt. I wasn’t really too worried about it, but it’s always a relief to have one less distraction/ache. My feet however are another story. My shoes are done for. The insides are breaking apart beneath my feet and I have hardly any traction or cushion on/from the terrain; I’m feeling every single rock. Thankfully I have a new pair waiting for me in the next town. I can’t get them on my feet fast enough.
As I sort of expected, there was about a 20 minute debate/meeting on where we should all stop and camp. Since I have a hammock, my vote is always “near trees.” However, trees were sparse today. We ended up camping on the open ridge and I set my hammock up like a bivy.
As much as I love sleeping in a hammock, I am perfectly fine on the ground with minimal cushion as well. I’ve been contemplating getting rid of the hammock and just using a tarp and a bug net. I don’t know if I’ll go through with it.
We did 16 miles by the time we called it a day around 7:30pm. The posse wants to try and do 30s through this section, and that sparkles and shines just fine with me. The terrain does look formidable, but 30 mile days don’t look impossible.
This evening I noticed I messed up my food resupply. When I bought my initial food items, I’d done so with the plan to pack out an entire pizza. Well, I forgot to get the pizza before leaving town, so I have hardly anything to get me through this stretch. All my food consists of one bag of pork skins, one bag of fritos, one can of Pringles, two beef jerky steak sticks, a rice side, one packet of instant mash potatoes, and one mountain house biscuits and gravy. I think I have less than five thousand calories to get me over 100 miles. I would usually eat close to that much per day. I’m not going to lie, I’m a little nervous and very frustrated with myself. I can’t believe I messed my food up for this section. If there was ever a stretch where I needed more food, this would be it. It’ll be interesting to see what happens; I hope I can make it work…