Monday, May 3, 2010

200 Miles Down to Hell

Day 20-May 3rd

Some days on the trail are rough, because of temperature.

Some days on the trail are rough, because of the terrain.

Some days because of tread, overgrowth, water...

Very seldom does a day hit you that has everything to offer you that you loath. Today was that day, but we are still in high spirits. As you can see in the photo, we have passed the two hundred mile mark. That averages to only ten miles a day, but we have had six zero days...and we are in no rush to get to the heavily snowed in Sierras.

This morning when we woke (at a camp which was the highest in elevation, yet), the snow melt had frozen over, and our bodies shivered to motivate movement. As we started our descent, we hit a few icy snow patches on dangerous chutes that did not appeal to us, so we hiked around them, at times climbing several feet uphill to avoid them.

As we dropped, the snow slowly disappeared, and the pine duff tread gave way to the more common grit of granite. The sugar pine trees gave way to the manzanitas. The cool mountain air gave way to the hot arid desert air.

The descent of over 6000 feet was spread over a very annoying 15 miles. The entire day offered us unblocked views to the valley floor, yet the trail somehow failed to understand that we wanted to get off the mountain, and move to the next. It meandered aimlessly, or so it seemed, back and forth making us walk a mile just to lose forty feet in elevation.

Generally, we understand and appreciate the need for switchbacks, and proper trail grading. This, however, seemed to be the result of two trail crews battling over who could make the most annoying trail. One started at the top, the other at the bottom, and the joined at the midpoint of our hiking day.

Add the fatigue of the jarring descent, to the unrelenting sun and heavy plant overgrowth, and its easy to start to understand our frustration for the day. But, despite our frustration, we were happy to hit the 200 mile benchmark, as well as finish section B of the trail.

After waiting out the 100 plus degree heat of the day, in a patch of shade smaller than a pint sized lap dog, we made the final descent to I-10, located directly on the San Andreas fault, and serving as the dividing point between section B and section C.

Looking forward to making movement across nearly flat land, after the heat of the sun died, we were sorely disappointed when we were greeted with high winds. Generally wind is fun, but wind combined with sandy trail tread results in dirt in the eyes, and gritty mouths.

Now for some ridiculous reason, we are choosing to sleep under a freeway, next to some train tracks. This should be exciting.

Psycho: Let's play a game to pass the time
Apricots: Ok
Psycho: I spy with my little eye, something that sucks
Apricots: Is it this portion of the trail?

--but when all is said and done, we are still happy...made happier still by the coolers of fresh fruit, veggies, chips, and soda left under the freeway by a kind trail angel.

We now sleep at the lowest point on the PCT, south of the Columbia River crossing from Oregon to Washington.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


  1. God Bless the trail angels....

    You all look fetching...200 MILES..................YEAH! That is somewhere around 7.5 percent...or in the vicinity. Yeah...Take good care...building a box for Memorial Day...Let me know anything you hadn't listed that you might like to have...

  2. good job, that's the spirit! i love reading your entries; thanks for being so diligent in keeping us up to date. it was beyond lovely to meet you two and spend my birthday with you all. i'm rooting for you!

  3. OK I'm hooked on your blog like a soap opera.
    You guys are total badasses, and I'm so happy you're out there doing what you love.
    Be careful!
    Congrats on the 200 mile mark.
    Love and supremely energetic thoughts...

  4. puffy shoulders!