March 28, 2021
When we went to sleep, the air was calm and the sunset was beautiful, but around midnight, the wind picked up. I eventually heard a lot of rustling and quiet exclamations coming from Ghosthikers tent and asked what she was doing. She was nervous that the wind was going to tear up her tent, so she was packing up to find somewhere more sheltered to set up. My tent felt pretty secure so I opted to stay put. I didn’t really sleep after that, though. The wind was too loud and came in sudden bursts that startled me awake every time I started drifting off again. Like clockwork, I rolled off my air mattress around 1:00am and put more air in it. Annoying, for sure, but definitely not the worst things in the world to deal with on trail. I mean, at least my tent was still standing.
Around 4:00am, I was just thinking about throwing in the towel and getting up when a corner of my tent came loose from its steak. It was a front corner, so it was fairly easy to lean out and reattach it, then cinch it down, without having to actually get out of my tent. So not too bad.
After that I was already up and fairly alert, so I made coffee, using my sit pad as a wind blocker around my little stove. I know using your stove inside your tent is dangerous, but I’ve been doing it a lot on this trail. It’s usually just too windy to get it to work outside my tent, even under the vestibule, and this morning was certainly no exception.
I left camp around 6:00am. The trail was a dirt road along a rideline and was so cold and windy. Hiking out alone was weird. I passed Afterburner and his two friends, who Ghosthiker and I were already referring to as the Trio. Shortly after that, I found Ghosthiker. She was still in her tent and just waking up. I told her there was no rush to catch up to me, that she should take her time and I’d happily wait for her at the next water source.
I ended up hiking for a little bit with the Trio and we stopped for water at a spot where there were several clear pools along some large rocks. I thought this was Rogers Spring, where I’d told Ghosthiker I’d meet her, but it turns out I’d already passed that turnoff. No big deal. I collected some water and then backtracked the .2 miles to the turnoff, where I sat myself down for a break and waited for Ghosthiker. She appeared not long after that, and we hiked on. She decided she’d rather collect water where I did than hike off trail to Rogers Spring.
Trail conditions were really nice for the first half of the day. The trail itself was clear and there was a climb but it wasn’t bad. We took a break at 5 miles and then again at 10, where a big group of weekend hikers gave us some of their leftover snacks, including tequila and a beer! Things were going well!
Right after that, the trail became full of scree. Because, of course it did. Scree, scree, scree tearing up your feet. It was brutal. So much scree.
We stopped again at Walnut Spring at mile 330.2. We almost missed it because it was off to the side of the trail and not very visible. Cloudy water quality but it was cold and it was there, so we collected enough to dry camp and to get us to the next water source, which is in 10 miles. We’re definitely not getting there today.
I can’t even begin to describe the difference between the first part of the day and the second part. This was by far the hardest stretch for me, both mentally and physically. Ridiculously steep ups and downs full of so much fucking scree. My feet were were finally starting to feel really great, and now they are beat to shit. Ugh!!
By the time we got to our intended camp spot there were already people there, so we had to pitch in some less desirable spots a little further down, but it’s whatever. We’re sheltered from the wind and it’s quiet, so maybe we’ll be able to catch up on all the sleep we lost last night (or the last several nights, really. MJ’s was amazing, but neither of us got much sleep).
So much profanity in my journal that I have edited out. This was a really hard day for me.