It is 2:48am. I’ve been laying awake in my tent for quite a while now, mulling over these words and perfecting the deadliest fart (for the recipe, see below).
Washington is kicking my ass inside-out. I was warned it would be tough, but I dove in rather blithely, naively, and now I’m wondering what hit me. The weather hasn’t even turned foul yet. But it is already TOUGH. Up, down, up, down, all the while with mind-fucking thoughts of where I’ve been and where I’m headed. It’s not that I want to quit. I’m just trying to figure out if I can ride an elk. Or have a bear push me in a wheelbarrow.
With every beat, my feet cry out, “We’re done! We quit! We’re through!” The bones – they just ache. Finally. Honestly, I don’t know how they lasted this long. I have no idea how they’ll last another 375 miles to Manning Park (British Columbia). I am wracking my brains trying to figure out how to patch them up for now. Never mind thoughts of later. I’ll limp later, now I gotta WALK!
To boot, I didn’t bring enough food. Thankfully, the trail provides. It always does. Thursday morning a man photographing glaciers on Mt. Adams gave me mint chocolate bar pieces (my favorite), some organic fig newtons, and some gorgeous dried apricots and figs. Yesterday afternoon, while I iced my feet on a glacier (yes, I did), when a few men donated muffin crumbs and a half-eaten pita/cheese sandwich, I was grateful. And yesterday evening, I found an unattended bag of rations in the middle of the trail. I called out for its owner,
“Yoo hoo! Oh, YOO HOO. Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!”
I waited and listened, soaking my feet in Lutz Lake. Nobody answered. I helped myself, because not only was the abandoned food a detriment to wild bears, but it was left with an empty beer can and thus clearly trash. I am now packing out all sorts of other peoples’ trash, but my belly is full. If that was your food, you are welcome.
Thank you, trail!
The perfect fart (i.e. my trail diet): 2-3 packets of organic maple oatmeal and 2 organic “pop tarts” for breakfast, with instant coffee (Via preferred, though I’ll take Folger’s). A king-sized Snickers bar at 10am. Lunch: tortilla with peanut butter and jam, chocolate pieces, black licorice, dried mango or pineapple. A ProBar or Bobo Bar for 2pm snack. Teriyaki or yakisoba ramen for dinner, with more grazing amongst snacks and an Organic Food Bar – protein “flavor” for… protein. Some green powder for… vegetables. If I’m feeling demoralized and/or the weather is cold, a hot cocoa before sleep (assuming I have any).
(Holy shit, heart attack. A bat just full-on attacked my tent. I don’t even know why I put up a tent tonight in the first place, but now I’m glad I did. And considering it’s only the fly and no net, it’s a miracle I don’t have a bat trapped in here with me right now. Whew!)
Part of why I put up a tent down here at Hidden Spring, 0.3 miles off trail, is for anonymity. I’m all hidden away inside it. You see, I’ve now gone — as of 3am — 84 hours without seeing another thru-hiker. In this world, that is incredible. The PAcific Crest Trail Association issued something like 1,000 permits to hikers this year; the trail is swarming with hikers. And so, to go a day, much less a few hours, without seeing one and having the same damn conversation, is incredible. Considering I came out to hike for some quiet alone time (haha, hiking the PCT isn’t the way to do it, as it turns out), this conversation annoys me to no end at this point. The past three days, dotted only with brief conversations with strangers, have been so refreshing.
Especially since I have so much to sort out in my head.
Such as, finishing this hike.
This 2600+ mile hike.
I only have 375 miles to go.