Tuesday, March 1, 2016

PCT Day 36: Marble Machine Madness

Day 36 6-23-2015       Sleep  2200 – 400
Miles 1601.5 -1650
           
            Magical morning heading into the Marble forest.  The cool is really just lighting a fire under my butt.  Flying.  As I write this, I was sitting in the bar…Yup.  Another awful analogy!  I was watching our bartenders hard at work.  Both whom are thru hikers in and of themselves (I don’t trust a non thru hiker to pour my beer) As I watched them work, I couldn’t fathom what they were doing.  It looked so complex.  I wondered how anyone could remember all the orders and work as smoothly as they did.  I often get that impression when I talk to people about my hiking adventures.  From the outside, it all seems so complex and difficult to fathom how it works.  But in reality, when you get inside, you see it is actually really simple.  Just repeated, often and quickly.  Same thing with hiking.  I wake up.  Tie my shoes.  Roll up my bivy, stuff it in my pack and I am walking.  Every hour my watch chimes and I eat one “thing” (Cliffbar, Ramen, Cheesey crackers, Pop tart, Gummy candy)  I poop when I need to poop (I stop walking for that one) I brush my teeth as I walk, I think, I daydream, I laugh and I cry.  This is how the time passes and the miles go by.  On the PCT I am able to walk most of the time with my head up, which is nice.  On the AT when I walked often times I would look up and then trip on some unforeseen root or rock.  When I run, I can almost always keep my head up no matter the trail.  I find this to be a big difference that I only noticed after a long time.  The AT was the tunnel, head down watching my steps.  Which, lead to my thoughts being internal and analyzing things driven from my own mind.  On the PCT I was able to keep my head up and enjoy the views.  This lead to my thoughts wondering and being driven by external stimulus.  Not that one is better or worse, but different for sure. 
One of my favorites from the trail

It was cool for along time today, but with the sun out the afternoon became hot once again.  The low (my high) was fleeting and the high (my low) was rolling back in.  I was up high on the ridge, so that was my saving grace.  But I knew eventually the trail would tilt down and I would be running into a hot valley.  I figured there was no reason to rush to the heat.  I found a nice shady spot, spread out my garbage bag, took off my shoes, put my feet up on the tree and laid my head on my pack.  I had done this move seemingly a million times before.  But now something felt different.  Like some deep satisfaction in my gut.  That I knew how to take care of my body so well that I was able to make it “machine” like.  I closed my eyes and thought about how ridiculous my life has been.  All these seemingly impossible things over the past few years, that I applied myself, worked hard, suffered but then was capable of doing.  Oh boy, now I was getting motivated.  Yes I can do this! I got this!  But I have only been laying here for a few minutes.  Calm down and get some rest.
Marble Forest
     Finally, my watch chimed and I was up and at it.  The trail tilting down, I was flying.  My mind at ease I was making great progress.  Fortunately or not.  I could only go so far; resupply tomorrow in Seiad Valley, store opens at 700.  I had made it down the majority of the descent and was running along a creek.  I decided to pull the plug rather early.  I knew tomorrow would be hot and I rather get some miles in before the store opens, while it was still cool.  My legs were still feeling good and I thought this was another one of my bodily intuitions; to stop before I was beat and broken, so that I would be feeling better tomorrow.  As I laid down, I realized I was a lot more spent than I thought and passed out immediately.

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