Day 48: Seeing Some Old, Familiar Faces

May 8, 2018

623.5-643.8

Even though I slept heavily the night before, I was really dragging my feet all morning. I couldn’t seem to muster the energy I needed to move at what has become my normal pace. It took me 3.5 hrs to go 7.4 miles to the water source! That’s only about 2 miles an hour! Ghosthiker started with me and I fell behind almost immediately. Sparky assured me that off-days are perfectly normal, but they kept asking how my feet were doing. Mostly I just felt tired. My break at the water cache at Robin Bird Pass (not to be confused with Robin Bird Spring where Ghosthiker and I camped) needed to be short or else I’d be struggling up the next big climb in the heat of the day. 

I’d managed to stay chafe-free for 47 days. It was nice while it lasted. The morning began with a steep climb and my panties decided they did not want to stay in place. I assumed they were just stretched out and now fit poorly due to the weight I’d lost. Rather than deal with wedgies all day, I made a quick stop to take them off, but I didn’t feel like digging into my pack for a new pair so I hiked commando the rest of the day. The result was, as I mentioned, chafe. Bag Balm to the rescue!

I’d managed to stay chafe-free for 47 days. It was nice while it lasted. The morning began with a steep climb and my panties decided they did not want to stay in place. I assumed they were just stretched out and now fit poorly due to the weight I’d lost. Rather than deal with wedgies all day, I made a quick stop to take them off, but I didn’t feel like digging into my pack for a new pair so I hiked commando the rest of the day. The result was, as I mentioned, chafe. Bag Balm to the rescue!

When we reached the top of a particularly high pass we were rewarded with our first really good view of Mt. Whitney. I couldn’t believe we were so close already! Ghosthiker wants to get permits to climb it from the Lone Pine side so we can slackpack it. Not knowing anything about the climb from either side, it sounded like a good idea to me. 

Sparky, Ghosthiker, and I randomly got into a conversation about religion and mental health during our break, and we sat there chatting for over an hour. Deep discussions are bound to happen when you’ve been living/hiking in such close quarters with the same people for days on end, and it was refreshing to talk about some issues that might get heated in other groups/forums but that we were able to share openly and honestly without fear.

At the water source, I gathered enough to make it to the next source and to dry camp if need be. I was really hurting but kept pushing on and when I found Ghosthiker and Sparky taking a break and Sparky said only 4.4 miles to go, I became determined to make it there today. After I left them, I dumped my “camp” liter and carried just enough to get me to the water source. Those last few miles I felt like I was flying. I was in a lot of pain and it was hot and dry, but the heat abated and I decided to count my steps to see how many it took to cover a mile. 2,200 give or take. It kept my mind busy while I pushed on. 

When I finally got to McIvers Spring .25 off the trail, I found Mountain Goat, Piss Puff, and 4am already there. I had met these three at Carmen’s back in Julian and remembered them well. During my zero day I’d been sitting on the patio resting my weary limbs and waiting for my laundry to finish, and 4am had been reading aloud from a paperback copy of The Hobbit. He had a fantastic English accent which lent itself well to the story, and I was enjoying listening in. Carmen’s little chihuahua had sidled up next to the chair of another hiker, waited a few moments, then lifted a leg and started whizzing on the sleeve of her puffy coat that was hanging on the back of the chair! 

I’d had my eye on the little dog and had just been getting ready to pet it, so I immediately shooed it away mid-stream. Everyone laughed, and I learned that this was not the first time this hiker had had her puffy coat pissed on. She was dubbed Piss Puff right there on the spot and begged her trail friends not to call her that. 

“It’s certainly not the worst name you could get.” I reassured her. 

Poor Landmine. His was probably the worst I’d heard on trail. I only met him once, but the story goes that on his first night on the trail, he’d gone into the brush to dig a cat hole and dug up someone else’s poop! Hence the name Landmine.

Needless to say, it was a pleasure to see this little group again after so many miles. Oats was there as well but she was poking around the ramshackle cabin near the stream and I didn’t see her right away. I decided to throw down my stuff on a little flat spot near the others since Sparky and Ghosthiker hadn’t arrived yet and I didn’t particularly want to camp close to the cabin, which was probably full of critters. I gathered water, ate some dinner, and curled up in my tent without the rainfly again.

Published by rogerssj23

I'm a long-distance hiker, an audiobook producer, and an amateur writer. I live in the woods in a renovated 1972 Airstream with my Golden Retriever Zoe. Read more about my hiking adventures at sarahhikes.com.

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