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PCT Day 31: Oh Deer

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Day 31 6-18-2015     Sleep 100 – 400 Miles 1401 – 1429
            Last night when I dropped off the bluff, the trail turned to Basalt with some sand mixed in.  Basalt tends to be pretty sharp and very grabby.  I was struggling along the trail, the sun was just coming up and it was already hot.  I knew this would be rough on my feet, but the entire time my feet felt pretty good.  All of a sudden, there was an intense pain coming from the bottom of my left foot.  I figured I had got something in my shoe and was now steeping on it.  Upon taking the shoe off, I could not find the source.  Next I took off the sock and realized the problem.  Just a nickel size blister in the middle of my fore foot.  No biggie, I will just drain it and be on my way.  So I got my Neosporin out and jammed my toe nail clippers in (I had lost my knife some time in the last day).  I couldn’t get to it.  It was hot and the feeble attempts at draining the blister were making me some what nauseous.  I decided that …

PCT Day 30: Lessen Learned

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Day 30 6-17-2015     Sleep 2300 – 330 Miles 1351 – 1401
            Well it was beautifully smooth terrain and I was running.  About 500 feet at a time.  There were down trees everywhere.  The down trees were huge with lots of branches.  This sucks.  Each time I get running, I almost get into a groove then stop.  Have to figure out how to get around these trees.  I had gotten so pissed that I just started walking all together.  There was a beautiful volcano off to my left (Lessen) but I could care less.  I was hot again and in a bad mood.  Come on Joey, don’t be a baby.  Shut up mind.  You don’t know what this is like.  Wait a minute, you always say you like a challenge.  Isn’t that why you are out here killing yourself?  Yes, what is your point?  Well aren’t the downed trees just another challenge?  Good call mind.  Challenge accepted.  I was running again, but shortly after my epiphany, the downed trees stopped…almost to my disappointment.  Now the trail was pine needley bomber desce…

PCT Day 29: Midway Hot Day

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Day 29 6-16-2015    Sleep 2300 – 330 Miles 1302 – 1351
            A fast morning was made by rolling smooth terrain.  But then came the heat and no rain.  I was hot and the sun frying my brain.  Ok, I'll stop, so to keep you from going insane.  Really? Yeah, I got all day out here to loose my mind.  I fear I have mostly reached the flats.  The trail goes up and down in small hills.  But gone are the long climbs and descents.  Unfortunately, I find this terrain to bore my legs and they slow down without the big changes in pace.  I hit the midpoint sign post at 1105, halfway.  Holy cow, it seems like I just started last week….28 days ago.  I was getting really hot and fried out in the sun.  The mix of low elevation and heat wave we are apparently having are making it unbearable during the mid afternoon.  I decided to find a shady spot and put my legs up.

     A ninety minute nap did the trick and I was moving fresh again.  I can’t help but think, if it stays hot like this, I might h…

PCT Day 28: Bombing to Belden

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Day 28 6-15-2015    Sleep 100-230 Miles 1252 – 1302
            I felt good and motivated upon waking.  I finished off the climb and rolled the ridge.  It was getting hot and I was exposed in the sun.  I was getting fried.  I reached the last water for a ways and took my break.  I camelled up in the shade.  I also soaked my shirt and head band.  I knew I would be okay, I had done my dehydration training…What? Yes, I said it.  At times I will go for long runs without water.  I ran 50 miles once with no water or food.  It seems the more you do it, the more comfortable it gets.  If I am trying to feel good and perform the next day, it is not wise for me to get that dehydrated.  But knowing you are not going to die is nice.  So I made it to the next water without worrying or carrying too much.  Now, just a long descent to my resupply point in Belden.  I have a lot of ski buddies, who can’t understand why I like running so much.  But the descent, to me, is the same as skiing.  When you have…

PCT Day 27: Happy Birthday Mike->Firecracker->Run Like an Antelope->All Night Long

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Day 27 6-14-2015  Sleep 2000 – 500 Miles 1198 – 1252
            Well I snoozed, thinking it was the right thing to do.  But here at 530 it was already warm and I was thinking I made a mistake.  After a good size climb, the trail traversed along the mountain.  The views were spectacular and had me in a good mood.  I was moving a long the ridge with no hustle to my day.  I was hoping to put in a big day, especially after yesterday and it was my brother’s birthday.  Neither things seemed to motivate me out of cruise control and I moseyed on.  Finally, I ran into a hiker named “Firecracker” We hiked a long for a ways.  He knew all about FKTs and ultra running.  He asked me a lot of questions about diet, training, music.  He was excited to hear that Phish and Grateful Dead took up the majority of space on my ipod.  I told him I was in a bit of a funk and just not having the best day.  He understood why I might be tired and understood speed hiking on a long trail.  He said that I knew it wa…

PCT Day 26: Owie My Feet Hurt

Day 26 6-13-2015   Sleep 2200 – 400 Miles 1155 – 1198
            39 miles to go to SierraCity.  They close at 1900.  I have 15 hours to go 41 miles.  Piece of cake I thought.  But shouldn’t I wake up first?  Sometimes, it feels like you don’t even sleep.  You blink and it is six hours later.  Those were my thoughts going to bed and therefore first thought in my mind upon waking.  I crossed the highways and was feeling good.  Big piece of cake I thought.  So the first decision I made was to get lost for probably about a mile and a half.  So you see; DonnerLake has a rim trail.  They use a crest pretty much identical to the PCT and very similar color scheme.  I was running and reached an intersection.  I saw the double crest on a sign that said to the right.  So of course I didn’t stop and just booked it right.  Well cruising along feeling awesome, I reached another intersection.  This time, I did stop.  I only saw the one crest.  It was the DonnerLake crest.  Hmm.  Which way is the PCT…

PCT Day 25: Youre My Boy Blue

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Day 25 6-12-2015  Sleep 2100-430 Miles 1106 – 1155
            I made my way up the pass, it was already twilight.  Geez, these days are getting long.  But that is why I like the northbound late spring hike.  You get the most day light.  Otherwise, the way to speed hike these long trails is really southbound starting late July or early August.  But this year there wasn’t any snow, so might as well use the sun.  The reflections on the still lakes set the mood for the day.  Calm and smooth.  There were a lot of downed trees in this section, but it wasn’t taking me out of my rhythm.  No instead, I was jumping over them like the steeple chase.  Maybe I was feeling better, maybe my pack lighter; didn’t matter.  It was putting me in a mood.  That kind of mood where you feel invincible, like you can tackle any problem.  I climbed up hill a bit and saw an oasis.  “I see blue” “he looks glorious” Lake Tahoe.  The Tahoe rim trail is on my list to tackle.  And here I am hiking at least a little s…

PCT Day 24: Real Shorts

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Day 24 6-11-2015  Sleep 2300-330 Miles 1065 – 1106
            Deep sleep, wide awake.  30 miles to my resupply.  Have to get there before 1400.  I have a goal, I have broken it down; 400 to 1400 is ten hours, 30 miles; is three miles an hour.  All I got to do is beat 3mph.  Easy enough.  I was moving well and with the sun in the sky, I couldn’t help but have a feeling of surviving.  The sierras behind me, the storms behind me, the tough stuff tackled.  A little phlegm in the back of my throat, but no worse for wear.  I would get to EchoLakes, shed some weight, get some new gear, feel refreshed and be flying.  I reached a parking lot with tons of tourists; get me out of here!  It was highway 50 Carson pass.  Suddenly, I knew where I was.  I remember only a few years ago skiing at Kirkwood.  It was actually one of my favorite places to ski.  Wow, how skiing has changed for me.  The “Wall” my favorite spot.  Where I tore my meniscus one superbowl Sunday.  When everyone else at the cabin …

PCT Day 23: Life is Good

Day 23   6-10-2015    Sleep 030-800 Miles 1019 – 1065             It was still raining so I slept longer.  I wanted to quit so bad.  Well there is a road in thirty miles.  I guess I will start hiking(I know there is a road a mile behind, but what did I say, no hiking backwards).  It was absolutely pouring at the top of WolfCreek pass.  There was a lot of snow and so I thought I would give the glissade a go.  But no. The rain had soaked the snow pack and turned it too mush.  I was post holing up to my crotch.  I was freezing cold.  This sucks.  I yelled, I cursed.  Didn’t matter, there was no one around.  I had seen maybe five people since Glen Aulin.  I freaked out.  Went ape shit.  I was trouncing through bushes and trees, not feeling a thing.  Adrenaline will do that to you.  I just want to get out of here.  I was sprinting, well more like sloshing around until I got low enough and was on dirt trail again.  But I am moving as fast as I can to get out of here.  The faster I go, the ha…

PCT Day 22: Rain in my Brain

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Day 22 6-8-2015  Sleep 2200-400 Miles 971-1019
            A few punchy climbs and long descents had me feeling good.  Also, I was making good time.  I was thinking I was finally back to feeling as close to 100% one can feel when averaging 47 miles per day.  Some dark clouds had me thinking about putting on my rain gear.  But I resisted and made the correct call.  A few sprinkles didn’t make much difference.  The trail was meandering through grassy valleys and everything was flooded.  Once again, my feet were swimming.  I knew it would be tough and I would have to be on my game for any opportunity to dry my feet.  I passed the 1,000 mile mark and it felt good.  I remember thinking damn, that is a lot of miles, only 1,650 more to go! I think that for most people, that might be hard to fathom.  But everyone who has ever done an endurance event knows you just got to piece it together.  My brain works like this… 1,650 miles divided by three miles per hour is 550 hours.  125 hours a week wo…

PCT Day 21: Beautiful Valley (s)

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Day 21 6-8-2015   Sleep 2200-400     Miles 928.3 – 971
            Early morning cruising down from the pass, into a gorgeous valley and on my way to resupply.  Yeah, I was feeling good.  It was cold in the valley inversion, which kept me moving fast to stay warm.  Finally, I felt the sun and the road.  Three tenths of a mile and I was grocery shopping.  The store was a mad house, they didn’t have some items I was looking for.  I kind of panicked and got in line behind ten or so people.  I couldn’t help but get upset at the tourists buying a soda.  Seriously, you drove up here and now you are waiting in this line just a buy a soda at nine in the morning.  You don’t have anything in your car?  Do you really need soda to fuel your half mile walk and to take pictures from your car?  I want people to experience nature and beautiful places; but so many people do it wrong.  Driving and pulling off to take pictures.  It irks me so much.  If you are going to do that, just sit at home at your …

PCT Day 20: Mammoth Lakes and Pancakes

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Day 20 6-7-2015   Sleep 2100-430 Miles 887.4 – 928.3             I woke.  It was real!  I got the rest I needed, but I felt like I had miles to make up.  I didn’t get near as far as I liked and now I have more things to do at Red Meadows (figure out a rain jacket, order a new aux battery) not to mention, it will be the first time in seven or eight days having cell service and thus internet.  The trail was easy, at least my body made it seem.  I ran the whole way.  My legs and feet floating over the ground.  I love when I am “running” I don’t have to look at my footing.  I am moving so fast and light, that whatever misstep I take is fixed before I even realize.  I can stare off at the scenery around me.  But then I was flailing forward, couldn’t quite get the legs under and I was face first in the dirt.  I got up and dusted myself off.  Meanwhile, looking back to see what got me.  A 2” diameter stump back 50 feet in the middle of the trail, that someone had cut off a couple inches from …

PCT Day 19: Dreaming

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Day 19 6-6-2015      Sleep 2300-200 Miles 852.2 – 887.4
               I wanted Red Meadows today, but realistically early tomorrow morning.  It was only 55 miles away though.  Surely a magical effort could get the job done.  The motivation had me moving well up a climb away from Muir Trail Ranch.  I came up to some lakes and SeldenPass.  In hindsight, this landscape was the most beautiful of the trip for me.  The sun was rising, the moon setting.  The lakes were quiet and calm.  I had a dejavu feeling, but I knew I had never been there.  It was that dejavu feeling you get when you know you are in the right place, doing the right thing.  A feeling oh so pure.  I think this helped, but I started believing that yes, yes I could do this.  55 miles ain’t that far.  At 4 mph, that is only 14 hours.  I can totally average 4 mph, I have done it before.  14 hours from 200 puts me there at 1600, three hours before they close.  I got this.  Oh really, an “I got this” chant.  Yeah, “You got this”…

PCT Day 18: Muir Mirror on the wall

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Day 18 6-5-2015   Sleep 2300-330 Miles 809.2 – 852.2
            I shook the snow off the lower half of my bivy.  Seems as those we got a little dusting overnight.  The moonlight reflects off of everything and creates an ethereal glow to the still dark morning.  Working my way up the trail, I am overwhelmed by the beauty.  I forget how beautiful a fresh coat of snow is in the early morning.  Especially, when the landscape still has it’s colors and is not already all white.  As I climb up along the South fork of the Kings river, I run into quite a few creek crossings.  Well it was below freezing and the normal hopping stones for crossing the creeks carried a nice gloss.  So shinny pretty, slippery, shittay.  No worries, I am a physics genius.  If I only step vertically and do not put any horizontal pressure, I won’t slip.  Well here we go. One rock.  Two rock. And ankle deep in icy water. One rock. Two icy water.  Across, I walk fast to keep the blood flowing and my feet from freezing. …

PCT Day 17: Really High

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Day 17 6-4-2015   Sleep 2130-330
Miles 763 – 809.2
            I wanted an early start to go over the PCT’s highest point, Forrester Pass 13,200 feet.  I was excited to go up a big mountain pass and see this high point, but more to feel it.  I was cheery because it was overcast keeping things cool, not too breezy which kept it from being cold, but also provided some pretty nice reflections in the ponds/lakes along the way.  It was quite the mellow climb, until about the last 500 feet.  Where the trail was cut onto a ledge along the rock face.  It was so magnificent.  Lord of the Rings style.  From the top, the view was inspiring, but I didn’t stay long.  I made my way down the other side.  There was only patches of snow which made footing awkward at times, but all in all pretty easy passage compared to what it could be.  Finally, down onto the trail it was a long and seemingly never ending descent crossing creeks frequently.  The sky was dark.  I reached the bottom and the trail headed…