Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day 53, Reds Meadow

Daily mileage: 26
Mile: 895.5-921.5

Today was a day of introspection for me. When you spend a lot of time hiking by yourself you tend to have things circle in your head quite a bit. I know on past trips I remember always being very concerned about things like water, food, terrain etc. But on this trip much of that has become such a regular thing that it just doesn't occupy my thoughts. I will be hiking the trail regardless so instead I get to over think other things throughout my day.
I woke up tired and not feeling super positive. I had drank all my water overnight and was cranky that I would have to wait a mile or two for water and definitely did not start my day on the right foot. The guys headed out bright and chipper (at least they sure looked that way to me) and I stumbled after. No more crazy wind but by no means a warm morning and the downed trees were already getting to me.
Look in normal life I love trees, honestly I do. But all of these downed trees had me mumbling and cursing as I sidestepped and crawled under branches, always managing to catch an item of clothing or stab myself. To add insult to injury I actually thought I was doing pretty well. Sort of like trees 5, focus 7. I was stepping on some nice springy aspen branches and face planted. Why? Oh yes that's right, the tiny trees saw that the big trees were no longer winning so they thought they would give it a try and boom shoelace snagged, hiker down. Only my pride was hurt but it still stung.

By the time I got to breakfast everyone was almost done and I was left alone with my negative thoughts in the cold.
This is where trail magic comes onto play. Sometimes it's food but other times it's something much simpler than that. A few very slow miles later I saw someone moving ahead of me and it was Joe Anderson of Casa de Luna! Terri and Joe are amazing trail angels who we hung out with in southern California playing card games and goofing off all afternoon. Joe was just what I needed. He is one of the happiest most genuinely excited people I have ever met and wow did that rub off. If you are ever having a bad day go talk to Joe about the PCT and his section hiking. After that the miles came easier and the downed trees stopped (you could tell the trail crew was working in that section and just hadn't made it up to the section I had just hiked. Trail crews I live you for all of your work, it is beyond amazing.

Getting close to reds meadow resort which is still closed due to all the storm damage, passed red cones (volcanic area, how exciting) and down through the old rainbow fire burn area.

Finally caught up with the guys at Reds where we made the slight detour to hang out in the campgrounds outdoor cement hot tub hot springs.

Made the most of our detour and visited Devils Postpile on our way back to the trail. All the storm damage is unreal, I have never seen so many downed trees before. Plus they're huge trees so the scale of the damage seems even larger.

Huge roots everywhere, went off trail and chatted with one of the trail crews, thanking them and learning a bit more about the storm. Word is the winds were off the charts, over 160 mph for 8 hours. Insane. I started to slow down as I climbed up towards Agnew Meadows but the mosquitoes were pretty ruthless so caveman and I desperately sought something better and as we turned a corner saw our first bear of the tree. Caveman got excited and the bear ran away, all very thrilling. Took our siesta break in the middle of a switchback because we pretty much gave up on outrunning mosquitoes and were so hungry. After that more climbing, I felt like I was falling asleep on my feet and was so happy to finally make camp.

The views were phenomenal in the evening but I was beat. I am so ready for a day off, my body is tired and my gear needs replacing. Come on Tuolumne, get here faster!

I mean really, three pairs of socks and every single sock has holes. Not cool.

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