Hiking With Jason

Detached From Reality

Day 42: Feeling the altitude

Day 42 – 6/2/16

Campsite 725.1 to campsite 747.2

Total miles: 22.1

The standard wakeup and departure occurred as usual. Just as I was finishing packing up the mosquitoes came out. Worthless creatures. The first 5 miles of the day were all downhill, which was nice. We dropped from 10,000 feet all the way down to about 8,000.

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We bottomed out at a meadow that we skirted around. Shortly after we arrived to our first water source of the day. I finished the liter I had and then grabbed another 2.

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The trail was uphill for about 5 miles. The trail climbed back up to 10,700. This was a brutal climb. The weight and altitude wear me out quickly. Once I get above 9,500 I struggle to keep a pace above 2 mph. 5 Star normally is much further ahead of me. As I was climbing up the mountain I rounded a corner and saw 5 Star standing with his phone out. Behind him I could see down to a desert floor. 5 Star tells me he has 4G. I check my phone. Nothing. Verizon you suck. I try calling my mom on his phone but the connection isn’t good enough.

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Throughout the day we would hear fighter pilots screaming over the mountain. It was hard to spot the Jets since by the time we heard them they were already way past where the sound was coming from. One time as we were at the top the pilot flipped the plane upside down and then back right as they were above us. Awesome. Maybe their avionics can some how pick up our heat signature and he was giving us a wave.

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We reached the top around 11 and took a break for lunch. The trail dropped again but only down to 9,000 feet. We reached the bottom and filled up with water. The water was from a creek and the creek smelled. The water also had a nice yellow tint to it. After filtering the water is clear and no trace of the yellow.

As we are leaving the creek my butt chaffe is too much. I tell 5 Star I’ll catch up. I walk over to a snow patch compress some snow and start wiping the tender area to clean off the salt. It’s cold but it brings some relief.

We have about 5 to 7 miles to go depending on how we feel. It is a long climb up to 11,000 feet. I slowly make my way up the mountain. The altitude is kicking my ass. It’s after 2:30 and I’m tired. Adding in the altitude just makes it worse. Slowly but surely I plod along. I take several quick breaks just to rest my legs and catch my breath.

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I catch up to 5 Star as he is sitting on a rock waiting for me. He says it’s only 1.6 miles to water. I have over a liter still so I take a few big gulps. We continue on and I try to keep pace. Slowly I start to fall behind. The snow patches start to appear more once I’m over 10,400 feet. They are right on the trail and I have no choice but to go over them. In some spots I posthole up to my knee as the melting soft snow gives way under my feet. Slowly my shoes get wet and I can start to feel my socks getting wet.

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I slowly make my way across the snow covered trail. I keep having to look ahead to keep track of where the trail is since it keeps getting covered up. I cross one long snow patch and I lose the trail. I keep walking straight and see 5 Star ahead but also 20 feet above me. I climb up the side of the mountain and back onto the trail. 5 Star says the creek is just ahead. We continue on. We come upon two girls and a guy. The two girls are Jukebox and Pretzel. These are the same people who have us our welcome to Kennedy Meadows. Guess they are going pretty slow.

We continue on trying to find the creek. We pass a large snow covered section and think the snow is covering the creek. We walk back to where there isn’t snow and walk down the mountain to find the creek. Sure enough there is water flowing under the snow. I fill up my bottle without bothering to filter. I’m too tired to care. Giardia be dammed.

I go back to my pack and lay down. I can see a tall snow covered mountain in the distance. 5 Star asks how many miles I have left in the tank. I tell him not many and that I’d rather stop sooner than later.
We continue on for about 10 minutes and come across a somewhat flat area. I set up my tent and set out my shoes and socks to dry in the sun. Luckily my socks were not too wet. They dry within 30 minutes.

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I check my tracker and see my mom sent a message saying my tracker hadn’t updated for 3 hours. I check and it said it had updated recently and had sent all of the tracking points for the day. I also respond to the security question of the day. This one almost stumped me. “What did Jeremy bring for lunch to the water park?” My best friend for the last 16 years is Jeremy. We’ve never been to a water park together. It took me a minute to realize she meant a friend I had when I lived in Florida. When I was about 11 my dad drove my friend Jeremy and I up to this water park in West Palm Beach. We told Jeremy to bring a lunch. Well Jeremy’s lunch was Altoids. Breath mints.  Then he left his “lunch” in his swim suit pocket and they dissolved away. I can’t believe my mom even remembered that. I barely do.

While sitting in our tents 5 Star checked what Facebook loaded when he had service early. A few people tagged him in regards to the fire we saw yesterday. The fire happened at Chimney Creek I believe. Which is where we sat right before getting the trail magic. A map showed the PCT running right through the epicenter. So it’s probably a good chance some idiot thruhiker started it. The trail is now closed between Walker Pass and Kennedy Meadows. Guess we got through there just in time. 5 Star and I think it was a hiker we met a few days back since he claimed to make fires a lot. Idiot.

Camping at 10,630 feet tonight. Overlooking a meadow with a creek winding through it. Can also hear the croaking of many frogs.

It is getting harder to write these posts since I write them once I’m in my tent fighting off the urge to sleep. Yesterday and today was hard to think of something somewhat interesting to say since I spent 90% of the day staring at my feet.

4 Comments

  1. Thank you, Jas, for the post. I don,t know you do it after such a tough day. You are simply the best.

  2. Jeremy Gutierrez-Jensen

    June 14, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    “What did Jeremy bring for lunch to the water park?”

    MFW… O_o

    “It took me a minute to realize she meant a friend I had when I lived in Florida.”

    Ohhhhh… -_-

  3. Your Mom is the best. Not only does she send you oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but she checks on you in code and remembers every last detail of your life. You may want to reimburse her for the extra trips she’s making to the hair salon. You’re doing great! Glad the ankle is okay!

  4. Great story. Remember — Mothers have remarkable eyes, ears and memories.

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