Today is a much shorter day. I promised to take the kids to see Thor and we prefer to go to the matinee, so I will be ending my hike early today.
It is sleeting hard this morning, but the ground is warm enough that it is melting right away. I pack everything inside my tent where I am dry. I had put up my tent on top of a hill, so I had plenty of air movement and the condensation was limited. I’ve learned from previous hikes to use my garbage compactor bag over my feet to keep that part dry.
I did a much better job of packing up. I’m ready to go in just fifteen minutes. I unzip the tent, toss my pack outside, and in wet weather gear crawl out. My tent is packed in mere moments, I count my stakes, and pack it in my backpack.
I have a method for packing my backpack. My quilt is on the bottom. It makes the bottom of my pack softer and more comfortable. On top is my tent. If it is raining (or in this case sleeting) It is the first thing I can get to. I hike down to the shelter were I meet my backpacking friend I made last night.
We eat, drink coffee, and I ask to take a picture of him. I want to remember him, but not share him to the world without his permission. I know his first name, but I do not know his last. It isn’t important. This is the type of friendships that I will have on the PCT. I will meet someone just once and never see them again. As we are all hiking the same trail, we all have something in common so friendships are created fast. However, everyone is also hiking their own hike. These friendships are not meant to last more than this moment.
He offers a hand to shake, but I have not showered in three days. I offer an elbow. He asks for a hug. Hugs I can do.
I’m a bit stiffer today, but I warm up in due time. The sleet stops. I text the wife where to pick me up. As I get closer, I send a text with a Google Map link so she can find me easily. I reach the meeting point first.
Not a terribly long hike, but I put in two 18 mile days. Still, it is a good nine miles. I’m in good shape for the hike. This proves that I can do it. There is still work to do. I want to loose another 18 pounds before I start, but with five months to go, there is no reason I cannot be successful.
I learn something every hike. My feet held up well. No blisters. No pain from Plantar Fasciitis. I lost no equipment.
- The quit and sleeping pad are much more effective if I properly set them up. That means using the straps and snaps.
- I need to figure out what I’m going to do to correct my vision. I prefer contacts when I’m hiking, however, they do require maintenance. Glasses are easier.
- Slow and steady really do win the race. Hiking just to the point of sweating meant that I was able to hike for eight hours straight without getting tired. I still had some gas in the tank. Trying to muscle through with a 3.5 m.p.h. pace simply killed me. Cruising at 3.0 m.p.h. was much more efficient.