Saturday, June 7, 2014

Peanut Butter And Skittles - (6/2/2014)

Mile 676.3 to mile 694.4
18.1 miles

No, not a couple of trailnames but a delicious combination of fruit and nuts. 

This morning I didn't wake up in any better of a mood and Mandie waking me up at the crack of dawn didn't help either. She was being her usual cute self and I just didn't want any part of it. I slept okay, but not great and wanted to go back to sleep. I eventually gave in and got my butt up and ready to hike. 

We had a leisurly 6 mile hike down hill from where we camped. Because of my crappy mood I gave Mandie plenty of space as she walked in front of me. I wanted to sulk by myself, uninterrupted. A few hours later we reached the 6 mile mark, our water resupply, and the Chimeny Creek CG. We blew by the water source and went straight for the CG which was a quarter mile off trail. When it comes to a bathroom there is no distance that is too far. In most cases anyway. These bathrooms were disgusting and I would have preferred digging a cat hole. I went anyway. 

We then sat at a picnic bench and had second breakfast. A yummy salami and ramomo cheese sandwich on a bagel. The CG had nothing else to offer us, no water and no trash receptacle so we went back to the trail to get some water. The stream was a little off trail but not too far. Far enough so that we didn't see the Trail Magic that was sitting there when we first went by. Two coolers filled with all sorts of chilled beverages. Just what I needed, some sugar and caffeine!

All topped off with water we hit the trail again. We had this one big mountain that we needed to ascend before the trail would level off for the rest of the day. We could do this. We have hiked bigger mountains on hotter days. I know we can so this. Up we  went. 

The trail up the mountain did not have any switchbacks, it was pretty much went straight up, 2500 feet over 6ish miles. We got to see some beautiful views of the area, some old broken down cars, and what we think were the remains of an old mine. We also crossed paths with an older couple, Rosel and Walter, who were from Germany and had section hiked close to 900 miles of the PCT. 

We finally reached the top a few hours and several breaks later. My foot was hurting a lot and we needed some nourishment so we laid out the sleep pad to sit on and took a break. I was leaning against my pack, as I normally do, and started to notice that my back was nice and cool. It had been a hot hike so I figured the sweat was evaporating in the wind. I was wrong. As I laid against my pack I also laid against my bladder's bite valve allowing it to empty out all over me and my pack. Completely empty, close to two liters of water gone. I was pissed and it didn't help my mood at all. I hopped up, picked up my pack and wanted to throw it across the mountain. I restrained myself and tossed it against a tree to dry out. I then proceeded to go sit on a log and sulk some more.

I was not having a good day. 

I knew I couldn't just sit there the rest of the day, we had 6 more miles to do before the next water source and camp. I had to get my head back I the game. I had to eat something to get me through the next six miles. I had to do something. So, I went back over to where Mandie was sitting and had a bite to eat with her. That's when we tried/invented peanut butter and skittles. Skittles are fruit flavored, like a jam or jelly, so it made perfect sense to put the two together. It was delicious. That yummy snack and Mandie's silliness helped turn my head around. 

With my pack now 4 pounds lighter and a lot cleaner, we headed down the trail. This was the part of the trail that was mostly level with a slight downward grade. It also weaved in and out of every nook and cranny of this canyon. It seemed to go on and on forever with little to no change in scenery. It is the kind of trail that I like hiking least. It is like watching the same movie scene over and over again. Groundhog Day anyone? It still had to be done and it doesn't really matter where the trail goes, I still have to cover 6 miles. 

Ironically, I actually started feeling better, both in my head and my foot. I was actually able to cruise down the trail with little pain and with a bit of a bounce in my step. Could the slump that I have been in the last day or so be over? Was it from the sight of the big Sierra mountains and valleys that were coming into view? I'm not sure but at least I was feeling better. 

At the end of the 6 miles there was supposed to be water, a little trickle of water, but still water. We crossed a dry stream where the water was supposed to be flowing. Mandie read the water report which said to go up stream 50 feet to water, which I did. Nothing but pools of stagnant water. Our next source of water was 4 miles down trail. Not un-doable but neither of us wanted to do a 21 mile day. I decided to check the stream one more time, but down stream and bingo! Water. 

We filled up all of our water receptacles, all 8 liters (that is what the desert has done to us, made us scared to run out of water.), and decided to move down trail a bit more to find a place that was more sheltered from the wind. See, we are learning! Only took two months. :) About a mile further we found a very nice place that was tucked away in a small grove of pine trees.

We have plenty of food tonight, which seems rare for us, especially when we are about to go into town to resupply, so we ate like kings. Well, we ate more than we usually do anyway. I think our stomachs are getting smaller which is making putting away large amounts of food harder. We are still hungry like the wolf. 

8 more miles until the Sierra. (To be clear, we are considering Kennedy Meadows the start of the Sierra.)