Monday, August 17, 2015

PCT Day 19: Dreaming

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 Selden Pass.  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” “Yes, I got this” it is amazing how when you change your thinking, the world changes.  Gradually, it wasn’t if I make it to Red Meadows, it was when I make it to Red Meadows. 
It was a beautiful morning
            I was running downhill, everything was going well.  Then I started walking.  Joey, “Why are you walking?” Oh yeah, so I start running.  A few minutes later, walking.  Hmm, run please.  Run, walk, run, walk.  What is the matter with me?  I don’t know.  Just walk for a bit and I bet you’ll be running again in no time.  I walk for a good thirty minutes.  All I can think now is that it is downhill, I should be running, but I just keep walking.  I don’t want to walk.  Maybe I should lay down.  WHAT? Yeah, you know just a quickie, you’ll feel better.  Geez, okay.  I take my shoes off and set an alarm for 15 minutes.  I passed out.  Was I really that tired? I think, as I get my shoes on and take off.  Well think about it; you didn’t get much sleep last night.  And you raced some weather the last two afternoons.  You stressed without rest.  The formula for tired, overtraining and/or staleness.  Right okay.  Let us re think this then.  You are going to stress and race to get to Red Meadows, but then what?  I will get sick and be useless.  Okay then.  Remember you didn’t mind getting to Red Meadows early morning tomorrow? Yup. Okay so let us do that. 
Very cold though
            Content to move at a leisurely pace, I was taking in all the beauty around me.  This is awesome I think.  Why doesn’t everyone do this?  Everyone should do this.  I think you realize what is truly important to you when you are out here.  To the point it makes you think, why am I out here hiking wasting time when I should be doing ______.  But you know that you need to finish the journey and get the entire picture.  So, can I keep walking now or are you just going to stare off into space all philosophizing?  …I was walking, just not quite as fast I would like.  I was definitely not as focused as I would like to be.  I started thinking, that I really needed a good nights rest; to get my physical fitness back, but also my mental health.  A plan is always good.  So I made one.  Get over this hill and down the big descent.  Take a 90 minute nap.  Then get up over Silver pass, see how you are feeling.  Quit when you would like and make sure you get six hours of sleep.  Easy.  So it went, up, down and nap.  Well let me plug my phone into the battery to get it a charge.  When I looked inside my solar panel pouch, it wasn’t there.  BLEEP! You got to be kidding me.  The mesh was worn and had a small hole in it.  I assumed the battery was rubbing and finally went out the hole it created.  Whatever; I have broken or lost everything else it seems; I will figure out something as I have before.  I am still here trucking.  Okay, after my nap.   
Praying for the trail to be in the sun
I woke feeling well.  I started up Silver Pass.  I got to the big open basin right before the top.  I take stock of the clouds as this is my last chance to seek shelter or it is commitment to get over and down.  It doesn’t look bad at all, just go.  I start climbing the last 400 feet to get over.  Big flakes begin to fly, I look up.  Where does this come from? There were clouds but nothing crazy.  Hmm just some rogue flurries I think and keep moving.  When I reached what I thought was the top, the trail turned and had a bit more to go up.  The sky also turned.  It was socked in over this sub ridge and it was nuking big wet flakes. Here we go again.  I could barely see through the fog/cloud and big flakes hitting me in the face.  My jacket was closed around my face as tight as I could get it.  I was just peeking through a little hole at a white abyss.  But I checked the map before I got up here and I knew; you head down a shelf, pass by a lake in a northeast direction and then descend the drainage basin west northwest along the south side of a mountain.  Very specific.  None the less, I sent it.  Just full on running, post holing and almost falling flat on my face.  I used trees to get some reference, apparently getting too close to one and ripping my jacket on the arm.  I looked down, shook my head but otherwise didn’t give a hoot.  Yeah, I am so tired of this, I am not even swearing anymore.  Finally, I got my leg in a deep hole in the snow and smack. Face first into the snow and kind of somersaulting over.  Well at least I didn’t hyperextend my knee or at least I had enough adrenaline to not feel pain from hyperextending my knee.  It wasn’t long, but it felt intense; I reached some dirt and the trail.  JoeyNavigation, no need for maps or GPS.  I calmed a bit, but I was still cold and it was still snowing.  After awhile it seemed to let up, sweet.  But how am I going to get warm, I don’t really want to be stressing my body again. 
Deja Vu
Then I saw it.  A blue tarp with four nice looking hikers underneath.  I said “hi” and they told me to come under the tarp and get out of the rain and get warm for a second. I thought I would only regroup and move on, seeing as it was only 1800 and I had definitely not gotten my miles for the day.  But Brian, Jess, Erika and Brennan were all so nice.  Offering me a seat and asking if they could heat up some ramen for me.  Then they asked if I was hungry. Big mistake.  I am always hungry, but better yet I have been starving for 16 days now.  They were resupplying tomorrow, had a ton of food left and were sick of carrying the extra weight.  Well I put on a show.  I always struggle to eat around other people.  In the winter I often eat around 30 or so people.  It takes me a good 45 to 60 minutes to get in all the calories I crave.  And I have been told I need to slow down and chew my food; but IM HUNGRY.  Even for the experienced, I have been told it is quite the spectacle (me eating).  Funny thing about the Ramen, I have probably eaten close to 200 packets in my life. Basically, just last year on the AT and this year on the PCT.  But I have never cooked it before.  Brian asked me how much water to add; I said the usual (playing it safe) He said that everybody likes it different…busted!  So I told him I had never cooked it; we all chuckled and then he graciously made the decision for me.  
Last picture before preserving my phone battery

Most of the time on the trail, my conversations are limited to “how’s it going” and “have a great hike” And I don’t see very many people to begin with.  Here I was hanging out with four people who were curious about this random guy with what looks like a day pack, out in the middle of no where running through the snow.  In between mouthfuls I would try to get out my part of the conversation.  Which, I think now could be a very interesting interview technique.  Get say, a Tour de France rider after a big mountain stage.  Put a huge plate of food in front of him; he has to eat the entire plate and answer 20 questions in the allotted time.  I would watch it at least, just saying NBC Sports.  Maybe I should stop riding my bike trainer, watching the TDF, eating some pasta and veggies, while trying to write this...  It was nice to have a real conversation and I couldn’t help but feel like we had planned this trip all along; just a weekend with friends in the mountain.  What a nice dream!

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