PCT Day 26 – Tuesday May 9
Mile 266.1 to Mile 278.4
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 12.3
Feet Ascended Today: 1920
Feet Descended Today: 1250
Current Elevation: 7588
Today was a somewhat disappointing day. I was tired and my feet hurt and I just wasn’t feeling particularly motivated. I only hiked for 12.3 miles which is a frustratingly low number of miles for one day.
I seem to need more sleep these days to function well, at least 8 or 9 hours. The importance of sleep is becoming more clear to me, as a good night’s sleep does wonders to help sore muscles heal and recuperate. I didn’t sleep well at the hostel last night and think that may have been part of my problem today.
Last night, some other hikers were being really loud at 12:30 am in the hostel, which is a big no-no. This is a bit unusual as most hikers are quiet after about 8:00 or 9:00 pm as that’s when hikers tend to go to sleep. I lay in bed getting increasingly annoyed as they were so loud even my earplugs couldn’t block out the sound, and eventually got up and asked them to quiet down. Some of the hikers dispersed but two of them continued to carry on a loud conversion right outside my dorm room door. So I got up again and this time I was REALLY pissed. I’m sure I looked like a crazy person with my hair sticking up all over and my eyes bloodshot and dried slobber on the corners of my mouth. I yelled a few not very nice things and this time it had the desired effect. They quieted down but I was really keyed up at this point and it took me a long time to go back to sleep.
Although to be fair I can’t blame all my tiredness on a couple of noisy hikers at the hostel. I’ve been pushing hard and going to bed too late trying to work on my blog and it’s been a cumulative effect of multiple nights without enough sleep. I should probably write shorter blog posts. I keep telling myself that but these long posts keep coming out of my brain when I write. Hm.
I was able to get an 8:00 am shuttle to the trailhead, and this time I was traveling solo. My friends are leaving at different times or have different starting points and are mostly a day behind me now. That’s fine with me though. I’m looking forward to a few days by myself as I haven’t had much alone time recently.
Today’s hike didn’t feature significant elevation gain or decline. The weather was pleasant – not too hot or too cold. It would have been a great day to crush some miles. Instead, I took lots of breaks and took a 45-minute nap at noon in the sunshine. My feet hurt and I stubbornly refused to take any Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is a magical elixir. 400 milligrams of “Vitamin I”, as hikers call it, first thing in the morning and my foot pain is manageable and I can hike those extra miles. Without it, I’m usually slowly hobbling by the end of the day. I have been trying not to take it every day as I’m worried about what it’s going to do to my liver over a 6-month period of daily consumption, but I think I’m going to throw in the towel and embrace the Ibuprofen. At least for now. Sigh. I hate taking medication.
I decided to stop early today so I could get caught up on sleep and get an early start tomorrow. I stopped at 5:00 pm at an established campsite with a fire ring. I had my tent up in a few minutes and cooked dinner in my tent’s vestibule. Clouds had rolled in (or perhaps I hiked into the clouds) in the late afternoon and I was socked in. It made for a cooler evening so I crawled into my sleeping quilt.
Have I mentioned yet how much I love my quilt? I do. Love it, I mean. It’s an Enlightened Equipment 10 degree Enigma quilt with 950 down. It cost a small fortune but it’s been so worth it. Did I mention that it only weighs 18.75 ounces?
For dinner I ate miso soup with rice noodles, dried veggies and dried Black Forest ham and it really hit the spot. It was my first time eating this particular meal and it was nice to eat something new. I fell asleep eating chocolate in my tent at 6:30 pm, and woke up 2 hours later to see a fabulous full moon. I crawled out of my tent to pee and was soon fast asleep again.