Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Day 76- The Ups and Downs Of Trail Life

July 17, 2016
Tentsite(1027.9) to Sherald Lake(1048.9) 21 Miles
Total up/down: +4581/-4650 feet

I must have woken up on the wrong side of my sleeping pad this morning. I was super cranky from the get go. I just flat out did not feel like hiking today. Nontheless, I pulled myself out of my sleeping bag and packed up as quickly as I could. I shoveled down two poptarts and started hiking north. For most of the morning I was just going through the motions. I took a few pictures, because that is what I'm supposed to do. I didn't even really care what I was taking pictures of. I usually take a lot of random pictures to help me remember what I did during the day. It makes it easier to write my blog at night. 
A mountain of lava rocks

My goal for the day was to hike 21 miles, but really all I was focused on was hiking 15 miles. I heard through the trail grapevine that the saddle above Noble Lake had great cell reception and I really wanted to make it there. I needed to post my blog and to make hotel reservations for my birthday in S. Lake Tahoe. Around mile six I was still cranky and just not into hiking. I stopped to filter water and to have a snack when all of a sudden something hit me in the back of the head. It was a tiny hummingbird. I thought to myself, now that hummingbird must be having a really bad day to fly into my head. Imagine his surprise at flying along only to collide with a giant head. Just like that I was no longer having a cranky bad day. I decided all I needed was a little music to help turn things around. Whenever I have days like this my go to music of choice is a Broadway musical. I listened to Joseph and the Amazing Techicolor Dreamcoat followed by Phantom of the Opera. It is hard to be in a bad mood while listening to show tunes. 
Seeing the beauty surrounding me
Amazed by all the volcanic activity in this area

I crushed out the next nine miles, including a tricky climb up to the saddle of Noble Lake Pass. The funny thing about thruhiking is the wild mood swings. One minute you'll be cursing the trail or the weather and the next minute you'll be amazed at the beauty of it all. 

Once I made it to the saddle I got great cell reception. I was able to check my email and to make a few phone calls. I called my mom to give her instructions for my next mail drop. My dad had checked on hotels for my in Tahoe. Apparently there is a big golf tournament in town at the same time as me so most of the hotels are booked. I really wanted to stay at one of the casinos, but they are absurdly priced. There is no way I can afford $200 per night. I was able to secure one night at a hostel and two nights at a budget motel. I decided that it doesn't matter where I sleep as long as it is in doors and has a decent shower.  Thanks to my mom and dad and my Aunt Liz and Uncle Tom for the two nights at the motel. I can't wait to have a room to myself for the first time in almost 1,100 miles! 
Sign at the top of the saddle. I think the 2,000 is kilometers
View from the pass

Thanks to everybody that has commented on my blog recently. I haven't had a chance to reply yet, but it was great to receive so many comments. I love all of the positive energy! After taking care of booking lodging and other cell service related tasks it was time to head down the mountain. This was a tricky proposition. While on the saddle a wind storm had begun. The gusts had to be around 60 mph. I focused hard on not being blown away. Once or twice I almost lost my footing and went over the edge. Eventually I made it down to safer ground. The wind didn't die down all night. If anything it just got worse. I was hoping to make it to camp without stopping, but I had to take a break to filter water. I tried to find a spot out of the wind, but was not successful. 
Water carved canyon

By the time I made it into camp the wind was atrocious. I tried to find a place to set up where I had some protection and I was mildly successful. I sat behind a rock to cook dinner and found some relief there. I had to remind myself that at least with the wind I wouldn't have to deal with mosquitos. I was the first person to set up camp, but by nightfall there were eleven people camped around me. I must have chosen a pretty good spot because everyone commented on how much better the wind was here compared to everywhere else they looked. 

So there you have it... Sometime all it takes is being smacked in the head by a wayward hummingbird to turn your day around. 

"I have noticed that people are dealing too much with the negative, with what is wrong. ... Why not try the other way, to look into the patient and see positive things, to just touch those things and make them bloom?"
- Thich Nhat Hanh


  1. Crazy wayward hummingbird! Hope it wasn't hurt setting your day straight.

  2. Sometimes when energy is low it's just a tough day until it isn't. Your inspirational humming bird came along for a reason. The force is with you Yoda, and so are we spectators. You go girl. Great pics.

  3. Well said Anonymous! Yoda - you are such an inspiration...glad that hummingbird came your way, AND really glad you didn't get blown over the edge...that would have really made for a bad day! Keep on keeping on - it's almost birthday time!!!

  4. Well, you ended up taking some great pictures, again. I'm glad our little bird knocked some sense into you. It was just saying, look where you are, get to work. I'm glad you listened. We weren't expecting to hear from you until Tahoe, a nice surprise. Talk to you again in couple of days. LY

  5. The hummingbird bumping into you couldn't have happened at a better time; you are such an amazing inspiration Yoda and thanks for sharing your journey with us

  6. Sometimes you are the windshield, sometimes you're the bug. Or the hummingbird, as the case may be.