Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Communication is Still a Bitch (Part 4 Section K PCT)

Neither Heather or I had the energy to be upset with Leigh for taking off. Leigh was certainly not happy about having to backtrack (uphill even!) but we understood because all of us were utterly spent. So much so, that I am going to rank this as the 2nd most exhausting day I've ever had. (A HIKING day that is...children will kick your ass on a whole 'nother level!!!) You will have to copy and paste this link if you want to read the day ranked #1:
As always, the PCT hikers came rolling in after us, darkness and all. I had to ask one of them, "How many miles did you do today?" I can't remember if he said 25 or 27, but I do remember he was disappointed because he was shooting for 35. Not only was I curious, but I thought it might help me put things in perspective with our measly 14 miles, though mostly it just annoyed me.
This is MacGyver from Germany. He is a gram wizard!
I'm going to confess something embarrassing...I was so tired, that for the first time I failed at applying enough pressure to correctly seal my "You Go Girl" and consequently peed all down my leg, making my only jammie bottoms nice and soggy. (for those who have never seen a You Go Girl, it's a rubber "thing" that girls can use to pee standing up. I have gotten caught squatting too many times, so I love mine...well, except at that moment ;)) And you know what? I was so done I didn't even give a sh##, and just crawled into my sleeping bag anyway.
Lake Mica did not disappoint in the morning light. Leigh was surprised to see how close we were--I didn't understand she hadn't even seen it the night before! (which helps explain why she kept going) When we emerged from our tents, one of the thru hikers was already gone, but the other one stuck around for awhile. (probably hoping for more food. Leigh gave him a good meal INCLUDING wine the night before, because both Heather and I felt nauseous from being so tired, and barely ate) We had a short day ahead, so we were able to hang out and let Leigh get a little of her lake frolicking in. She also spent quite of bit of time grilling MacGyver on the secrets of light food packing. (Leigh's pack weighed almost 50 pounds! She could have fed all the thru hikers, ha ha. But now she has the calorie per gram equation, so next time should be better)

Frolick away, Leigh! You've earned it!!

Ummm...so does this mean we go right, or left?
(the answer is right, but I really think they should consider a new sign)
A steep and messy detour
We really did not want to leave Mica, but alas, time was ticking. We may only have had 8 miles to do, but the map was clear that they would not be fun. (what I call "zigzag stitch" miles...nothin but switchbacks) Plus we were headed to a "dry" camp, so we had to load up a full 4 miles prior and haul those extra pounds up...only to find a decent size pond very close to camp. (Yes, it looked pretty disgusting, but all the PCT hikers used it anyway) Speaking of our guests for that night, we were lucky enough to meet a hiker with the best trail name ever, "Blue Volta". We didn't always ask how they got their names, but we couldn't resist this time. He simply took off his hat to reveal his blue hair and replied, "and I look like John Travolta". 
Blue Volta, Grasshopper, and Little Budda
The next day was another stunner, but by the time we were making our last decent off the mountains and back into the woods, Leigh was in desperate need of water. She wanted to push hard to get to Vista Creek, but I really wanted to stop and eat. So we separated, thinking it would be easy to meet up at the creek. Oh boy, I don't even think I can explain how it got so messed up, but I didn't see them again until I was setting up camp. What I will say is, the ribbon form of communication is not quite as effective as a cell phone. When I FINALLY realized the ribbon must have been signalling me to go off trail and down to where they would be, (instead of a warning NOT to go that way) I felt I was too far in to turn around. So I used the ribbon again to signal to them that I had gone on and not to worry. And yes, I felt really bad they had waited for over an hour; but they arrived only a half hour after me, so I still say I made the right call. 
All was forgiven as we sat around our cozy fire and played cards. Too bad the wine was all gone; but what I was really missing was my husband. He said he would try to hike in that night and camp with us, but no promises he could get his work done in time. He did promise to be there next day to bring us home, so that's all that mattered. 
Next morning I heard someone trying to get my attention from the bridge right above us, and sure enough, there was my husband! He had told me before we left that if he couldn't make it that night, he would hike in as far as he could to meet us next day, but I was really amazed he had made such good time! But wait...why is he wearing such a huge pack? I yelled up, "Did you camp last night?", to which he just gave me a very tired looking nod. What the hell?!?!
Again, I just don't think I can explain this mix up well enough, but I'll try. Ken was coming in on the Suiattle Trail. Just before we would come to that turn off, there is a HUGE bridge that shows a camp on either end according to the map. (which BTW, we could only ever find one, and though it is easy to see from the bridge, it is tricky to get to) I told Ken that when he got to the large bridge, to be sure to check both sides so he didn't miss us. What I didn't know was the Suiattle Trail ALSO has a large bridge (just before it merges into the PCT) that also happens to have camps on both sides. So Ken did exactly as he was told (if only I would have added and explained the bridge ON THE PCT) yet still missed us by just about a mile. But now he has a great story of how he spent the night in a damp old forest with nothin' but his sleeping bag, wine, and pizza. 
The "other" bridge
Where my poor husband spent the night all alone...
without even one damn match to light that perfect pile of wood!!!
I love my husband so much for everything he has done for me, but I may love him the most for not eating that pizza or drinking that wine. That was the best meal I have ever had, sitting on the tailgate and each of us telling all sorts of stories of past adventures. (Heather had some great ones of growing up in Alaska. No wonder she's such a bad ass!) Even a hot shower was not enticing enough to make me want to leave; but sadly, all good things must come to an end. And because this is the end, I will finish with a lesson I should have learned at least a dozen times before, but now will make official...
Cheers--until next time!


  1. I am ELATED to have found your blog. I am a 47 yr old Seattle mom of two and worker bee who set the goal of 52 hikes this year...completed #40 yesterday! You are doing many of the backpacking trips I want to start on next season. I'm eating up the tell-it-like-it-us recaps of the PCT and look forward to following in your footsteps.

    1. Hi there! I'm so glad you're enjoying my blog. Let me know if there is ever anything I can answer for you; I try to check my comments often.