Date- July 10, 2019
Location- side of trail
Distance Traveled Today- 21.1 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 360.4
Weather/Temp- cloudy, overcast, drizzle, 70s
Pain level- zero
Spirits/Morale- slightly frustrated
Wildlife encounters- zero
Days without shower- 1
Days without laundry- 1
I was out of the room before 9 am, finished with breakfast and staged for a hitch before 10 am, and back at the trailhead slightly after 11 am.
I was feeling rested and energized, and was moving down the trail at a fast clip. Around 2 miles in from the trailhead, I ran into an early middle aged couple who stopped to ask me about the trail. I engaged with them for a few minutes and answered some common thru-hiking questions before they introduced themselves as Dennis and Robin. They gave me their phone number and invited me over for an elk steak dinner when I get to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Fortuitous encounter indeed! I’ll be interested to see if that plays out…
The first 7 miles were easy trail before joining up with gravel/dirt service roads for the better part of the next 10 miles. The hiking was easy and quick, but towards the last couple miles of the road walking I couldn’t help but notice that my “miles hiked” weren’t matching up with my pace. I was maintaining 3mph at the very least, but it was taking an hour to complete 2 miles as represented on my map. It was like a warp in reality.
By around 6 pm I had hiked about 18 miles, when I stopped for a quick dinner. Looking ahead on the map, I had water sources 2.2 miles ahead of me and about 9 miles ahead of me. Ideally, I wanted to camp by water, and I wanted to hike to the further source.
It was just after 6 pm when I set back on trail. The roads were done and the dirt path was back. I had a mile to the top of a climb right off the bat, and then 1.2 miles to the first water source. In reality, I should have had it done in 45 minutes or so at the most. But after 40 minutes, I still wasn’t even to the top of the climb. In fact, it was almost an hour before I reached the top of the relatively easy climb. I double checked the map and GPS – it said I’d only gone a mile. I shrugged it off and continued down for the next mile or so to the water. Forty minutes later, I was only just getting to the water. It took an hour and a half to go a purported 2.2 miles at a 3mph pace. To say I was annoyed was an understatement.
There was no telling if the miles to the next water source were going to be as inaccurate. For all I knew, if I set out again, I might not reach the next water until midnight! I wasn’t in the mood to mess with it or chance it, so I decided to stay put.
All in all, it was a fairly mundane day. No exceptional wildlife. No other hikers. No great epiphanies. No major discoveries about myself or the world. Just reality defying miles that made me question my own sanity.
Tomorrow will either be a huge day, or just a big day. We’ll see…
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