Day 121 – September 72499 to 5526.3 (27.3 miles) –
I don’t even know how to describe this day. Basically, it was 27 miles of an all-in-one obstacle course, car wash, slip n’ slide. I’ll go into depth, but I’ll start with the positive.
This morning was pure beauty from the second I woke up. Right when I opened my eyes, the sun was rising behind the mountains, with the clouds turning pink and a deer was walking right past my tent with it all in the background. I felt so good and so very happy to be out here.
The first 7 miles were downhill, which I knocked out in only 2 hours. The woods below felt like some kind of fairytale storybook. The light was shining through the trees with fog, the birds chirping all around and bright green moss covering every inch of the forest floor. It was so magical.
THEN!!! The fun was over. It was fully cloudy, my feet soaked and caked with mud, and the first climb began. It wasn’t too bad at first, but every tenth of a mile there were fallen trees you have to climb over, under or around. Fallen trees are one of the big causes to injury on the trail. I fell countless times, slipping in the mud or on the slippery logs. The whole way down was like this. With one of the logs, you couldn’t climb over or under very easily, so I followed previous footsteps that lead up the steep slope to go around it. I slipped in the mud again and fell all the way down. My trekking pole got stuck in the mud and the tip ended up breaking off.
The southbounders that passed me looked miserable and exhausted, some covered in mud. This frightened me for what was ahead…
The next climb was just about 3,000 feet in elevation gain, over 4.5 miles. Never ending, steep muddy switchbacks. It was already getting late, but there wasn’t any tentsites until the top. It had been raining for several hours and I was soaked from head to toe. I kept thinking about the worst possible situations… “I’m going to slip and injure myself and get hypothermia!!” It was ridiculous. I tried to pull myself out of the negative, and starting reminding myself that there’s only 5 more days left, that I have come so far and done so great. I pushed harder and went as fast as I possibly could up the mountain so I could beat the sunset.
I hadn’t seen anyone for hours, and I finally ran into a girl heading to the same place. Her and her friend are section hiking Washington, they seemed to be glowing compared to us thru hikers! It cheered me up and I pushed on. I had one last good slip, almost sliding down the side of the mountain… but I was able to grab onto vegetation. Today has definitely been the toughest and scariest day on the trail. Worse than that day heading up to Muir hut! (Except today I didn’t cry haha!!)
I finally made it up to the tentsite. In the guide, it says that only one tent can fit. However, there are 5 tents here now, all squished in, with everyone too exhausted to go any further.
I set up my tent, and tried as best as I could to dry off. EVERYTHING is wet. No dry socks, my buff is soaked, my bag and all my clothes are damp. Tonight will be rough. My feet are completely numb. I cooked noodles and poured the rest of the hot broth into my bottle which I shoved at my feet in attempt to warm them. Eating hot food is always nice, but I have never felt so relieved and content. My chest felt warm, and my hands defrosted from the hot mug.
I am incredibly exhausted, today was the biggest workout of my life. Physically and emotionally! Whew. I’m so glad I made it to camp. It’s hailing now!!! Hopefully my tent can handle all of this… (Note to self: get a different tent in the future for bad weather!)
Tomorrow will be a good day. I can do this. Goodnight!