Friday, 10 July 2015

Searching for clean water 😁

 miles without much of a stop due to running out of food and the rain, thunder and lightning were on my tail for the pm. Today was also the start of the longer stretches without water as i was to find out. After a couple of ascents with all of the streams dry, when I came across a stagnant green pond i filled my water-bottle. I have to say, even though I know that the sawyer does a great job .... the thought of drinking this water was in emergency only. Sadly the photo doesn't show the green haze or bits floating ... But all was well when luckily I came across a lake with clear water.

Meadows in bloom was the order of the day, stunning colours that were so vibrant. It was only last week that the meadows were just a green mass. 
The last 6 miles were wet and cold. My last bit of food (supper) was cooked under the tarp.... never did cuscus and Ramen with pepper taste so good. 

Tomorrow will hopefully be a quick 9 miles before hitching into South Lake Taho, for, yes you have guessed it a huge breakfast burrito, resupply shop, a pair of new hiking trousers (my ones have rips and holes in now), shower, laundry and the start of the 4th July celebrations that start on the 3rd yes, a few fosters too πŸ˜€

01/7/15 Pit stop! its been just 8 weeks today since I started on the trail .... 1056.8 miles ago in Campo. Its already been a huge journey whether just what I have learnt practically but more it has restored my belief in human kindness in its purest form. On this trail so far, I have met some truly wonderful people with amazing stories, outlooks and raw generosity. We are here together, stripped back to basics with our homes on our backs with the trail taking us forward through mountains, forests, valley and passes. Here, if anyone needs help, we all want to help, give, support, find the solution, forward thinking, uber positive ... with absolutely nothing expected in return ... because that is the trail, trail life, trail magic, trail karma and trail people. It fits. 

Basic daily concerns are ensuring that either we carry enough water or know when the next stop is, which is a far cry from turning the tap expecting clean water to flow; or whether we have enough food (or ramen) to make it to the next resupply stop. As the little PCT community migrates across the USA .... Supported by angels, the USA public and friends/family in the UK ......My faith in the humankind race is restored .... And more 

Today, I seem to have hit a constant ... the legs move at the same speed whether up, down or on the flat. This meant a comfortable 27.5 miles today, even with a 1.5 hour snooze by the lake, I landed up in a deep canyon. Although a restock of marathons/ snickers and protein bars have definitely helped, i am pleased that I continue to get fitter each day. 'They said' I would, and they are right ... Although it seems that finally my metabolic rate (and maybe weight loss) has also stepped up a gear..... So it was Ramen, potato and cuscus tonight (oh the treats of the trail πŸ˜‰). 

30/6/15 26 miles and I felt so good. Over 3 lots of mountains (with a long valley decent). This was probably because  I had an unexpected stop at the car park of Kennedy Meadows (north). My intension was to hitch a ride into Kennedy Meadows (North) so that I could stock up on snacks, shower and do my laundry .... But low and behold ... In the car park was a van selling snacks etc ... So after eating x2 marathons, x4sausages and x2 eggs, x2 mountain dews, x1 orangeade and a packet of corn chips ... I decided to forgo the shower, town, bed and laundry and instead stock up with more snacks and finally get rid of my bear canister (this is the first place that you can officially) and continue on the trail towards echo lake... In three days time! Such a hiker!! Eeekkkk!!!! And a very smelly and dirty one too! 
But something worked ... 26 smooth miles later i arrived at the top of the valley head, open skies with a view of the last mountain (and valley) that i had just trekked over and through. 

29/6/15 woohooo! Made it to the 1000 mile mark! I cant believe it. Sadly I forgot to carry a fosters to celebrate (too much added weight) but i have to say, just seeing the 1000 marker was good enough - silent and with a deep breathe ... A marker that I didn't think I would see. I slept by the creek with my floppy tarp (I need to get to grips with putting up the tarp using my poles) flapping in the wind and rain.

28/6/15 over  6800 ft ascent ... I just couldn't make the final 1.5 miles of 23, so I found a flat shelf on the rock face and set up camp. The shelf was perfect height to have the tarp sloping over and across my bivvi which was needed with the thunder, lightning and rain. With the tarp up it meant that I could even cook under it and sleep with a view of the valley below. I did have to put my pole on the open side so that I would wake if I should start rolling over (and down the mountain) !! 

I have to say, I am so pleased that there is some rain and thunder... Hopefully it will put out the Washington fire! 

27/6/15 mozzies .... Darn mozzies ... Everywhere .... All day, all night ... Just biting and sucking blood! - its a wonder that i have any blood left. Camp fire by the creek was amazing followed by the best nights sleep ever ... Warm, cosy and in the morning I just didn't want to get out (it took me 2.5 hours!!)  

26/6/15 An early morning hitch was successful and the driver took us on a tour of the park (great so little walking) and a picnic lunch was had by the river. The views were amazing and i saw my first bear grazing in the meadow, Kyoti running into the trees and deer. Due to the early free return bus, the afternoon was spent by the river ... Munching again ... With watching the set on 'the rock' with the pipes playing. Perfect. 

Update about the Washington fire - the trail is still open, fellow hikers report a lot of smoke and caution is advised. So thats great news

25/6/15 arrived in red meadow after a good 20miler ( near Yosemite) and decided that a detour to Yosemite tomorrow was in order. The talk of the town is the 'Washington bush fire' as it is only 1.5 miles away from the PCT trail. Sadly only 14%ish of the fire is contained and therefore with a change of wind direction, it could compromise the trail and would mean a 100 mile hitch around the fire. 

24/6/15 back to the trail - after yet another breakfast burrito .., uneventful but even with the late start (and hitch back to Tollume meadow) over 20 miles was covered ( must have been the burrito)! 

Btw - a precious moment happened today. Walking up a hill .... Suddenly a stop everything moment,  when all I could hear was a creek flowing, birds calling and the gentle pipe playing ... It couldn't be recreated ... A heart and step stopping moment .... Never to be forgotten.

23/6/15 with a zero in Mammouth, the day was filled with eating, snacking, pizza, Coppertones soda ice cream (yes, we saw him again in the hills and he was staying nearby πŸ˜€), shopping, drinking and doing very little. Best purchase today (apart from the food) was the large sawyer filter. Usually filtering water (mountain and creek water needs it) takes an age and with my mini filter it takes another century .... But my new larger filter ... Heaven and quick πŸ˜€. I cant wait to try it out! 

22/6/15 arrived at red meadow then bus into Mammouth. Best burger n the world with a couple of others hoovering up left overs from others. Such a hiker thing to do. Even wine πŸ˜€

17/6/15 probably the coldest night to date - great to set up the day of two passes and 23 mile trek!!! I was given another trail name today at the top of the first pass.... 'Bluebird' because 1) i am able to put and carry 14 days of food in my bear canister 2) i eat only bird food 3) blue eyes 4) blue clothing 5) bluebird car that was very popular that goes on forever and cant be killed .... But fosters  keeps on returning as a popular trail name ... That also happens to be blue πŸ˜€ .... 

16/6/15 made it to the 'over the wibbly bridge' to the 800 mile mark!!! πŸ˜€

15/06/15 today was going to be the big day with over 6000ft elevation gain peaking at 13000ft - Foresters Pass. This was going to be the highest point on the trail. It was the most perfect and uber amazing view and company.  I simply cant put into words the intensity but summed up why I was on this trail. Moments like these put everything right in the world and any issues just melt away. Perfect! 

With 22 miles with silly elevation gain and river crossing - it was just a perfect day. 

12/06/15 after a day at the very chilled Kennedy meadows and catching up with a few familiars, I was really looking forward to getting back to the trail.

The next stage is the tough one - into the Sierras with high daily elevation gain and the need to carry bear proof canisters ( great more weight to carry)  for the food. Nonetheless, I am super excited - I love mountains and looking forward to the USA scale! 

I have to say, I am feeling extremely settled on the trail and starting to regard myself as a proper hiker who loves and prefers the trail life. So, for the next couple of weeks I want to stay on the trail and not side step into town for resupply. This means of course, I need to carry 14 days of food in my pack and forego showers and other creature comforts. 

So, just to recap : 14 days of food for the mountain ranges, bear canister and elevation gain to die for! ... Well after a good American breakfast of course!! 

Best start to crack the 6000ft to 9000ft elevation! 

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