I manage to get up earlier today. My alarm goes off at 51, but I’m “conscious” at 6:30. I’m feeling the effects of last night’s lack of food, and simultaneously feeling like the nonono cat when faced with the prospect of actually eating. So I try to distract myself with other things: treating more water, doing trail laundry, eating more snickers, digging another cathole just in case.
Eating is so hard – why is eating so hard? We’re designed to eat, it’s one of life’s little pleasures, but I stare at that wad of mashed potatoes and veggies and want to cry. I fight off my gag reflex with every bite, manage not to puke the precious calories up everywhere. I feel tears welling up when I remember just how much food I packed – I could easily be a pound lighter if I could only get to a trash can, there’s no way I’m getting through all of this before my first town stop. L2P, noob2 – lesson learned, anyway.
I’m out at 8:30 – it takes that long to stomach the rest of my potatoes and get everything put away. I’ve already been passed by a man with a conical day-glo orange hat – a wince at the cultural appropriation, at least it’s not straw? – and I wonder if I’ll see him again.
I only climb a little before I find a nice campspot, and feel sheepish about having camped like an asshole last night. Up a little more, and down into Funnybone, a Northeast-bound thruhiker whose PCT blog Speshul 41 recommended to me; they’d hiked together quite a ways. It’s a small thruhiking world after all. He’s almost done, 32 miles to go! His smile and encouraging words cheer me for miles, and I begin to finally entertain thoughts of making it to Breckenridge.
I leapfrog back and forth with the trio from the Springs. The scenery in this section is beautiful, all rocks and trees and glimpses of mountains beyond.
I catch the three and John – orange hat – at the next water stop, where I try to stop for lunch, but the thunder starts up, early today. It’s a race up up up, catching passing caught up to by John in a small clearing. I decide to set up and wait the storm out, and I’m glad I do – I get wet in the pre-rain, and then into the tent before the downpour, the hail. The inside’s sopping from putting the tent away wet, and I mop with my shirt, my buff, my bandanna, hunkering down in my puffy when I start to shiver. I’m huddled this way when, suddenly, sun.
I lay all my sopping stuff out to dry, lay myself out, too. It’s 4p and I’m about three miles from where I intend to stop, so I decide to go ahead and cook dinner. As I’m finishing, the sun gets weaker – and the thunder begins anew. The weather’s being overdramatic about this whole late summer thing. I shovel 2/3 of my ravioli into my face intermittently, foregoing the pesto, and stuff the rest into a ziploc.
Grab everything, disassemble the tent, helter skelter – I want to make those miles – but it’s not a thunderstorm. The clouds lighten, and the wind kicks up, buffeting me about the trail. The aspens are screaming, creepifyingly, and I’m nervously listening and watching for potential hazards. A tree creaks – cracks? – to my right and I’m hauling down the trail.
I pass up two campsites, Goldilocks again, so many dead trees waiting to fall. The next is down a closed trail, two tents already set up. I don’t want to intrude, but after going a ways further and finding nothing but another uphill, I turn around and set up a respectable distance away. Tim and Chase come out of the tents a short time later – Funnybone told me a father/son duo was ahead of me – happy to share their site in the blustery evening. Welcome to the neighborhood.
My tent’s dry now, the wind still doing its thing outside. I say to myself that I’ve eaten for the day, give my stomach a reprieve. I plan for another short day tomorrow – 11 miles – at the last noted campsite before Kenosha Pass. Planning’s addictive, and I end up thinking a 16 for the day after, a 20 after that. Then it’s 15 into Breck, and that’ll be 100 miles done.
Start: 31.1 · End: 43.8 · Day: 12.7
Notable Accomplishments: Still not dead · Still haven’t lost anything · Set up in rain with minimal wetness to self and stuff