Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Day 84- Feeling The Pressure

July 25, 2016
Tentsite(1123.2) to Stealth Site(1144.9) 21.7 Miles
Total up/down: +4312/-3605

I never really worried about finishing the AT before winter started in Maine. It was never a consideration. I hiked whatever miles I felt like. This hike is completely different. I set out from Tahoe planning to hike 25 miles per day because I felt like I was falling behind. I keep hearing that I am at the tail end of the bubble for this hiking season. The pressure to finish before the weather turns ugly is real. I don't like"having" to hike a certain mileage day in and day out. I prefer to let the terrain dictate my daily mileage. 

I woke up this morning dreading the day ahead of me. I just couldn't make myself motivated which is strange because usually I like to challenge myself. I think it is the pressure of having to do something. I had a quiet night in camp. The bears did not return to check on me. The air was crisp which is perfect for hiking. Within two miles I came to a trailhead parking area that had a privy. I was happy to not have to dig a cathole. It was shaping up to be a great day. I banged out the first six miles rather quickly. The terrain was cooperating nicely. I was worried that it might rain, but when I got up above tree line I could see that it wasn't rain clouds that I was seeing. It was smoke. I became nervous that there was a fire close by. 
Bear free campsite 

I checked my phone to see if I had service and lo and behold I had great reception. I noticed a text message from my dad. I had made a major mistake with having him ship food for me. I had forgot to tell him about my next stop in Belden. I had told him about another mail drop 150 miles farther down the trail. Luckily he was on top of things and noticed the mistake. If he hadn't caught the error I would have been majorly screwed. I asked him to check on any fires in the area. He got back to me that everything was good. I would find out later that the smoke I was seeing all day was coming from a fire in Agua Dulce. I hope the Saufley's are ok. 
Hazy scenery 

I spent the next several miles walking a ridge above tree line. I wish it wasn't so hazy out, but the views were still nice. I could even see Lake Tahoe a little bit. The ridge I was walking is part of the Sqaw Valley ski resort. I wonder if people realize that they are skiing and snowboarding over part of a national scenic trail. Probably not. 
Lake Tahoe
Such a cool name for a ski run
Close encounter with a marmot 

Shortly after walking the ridge my excitement bargain to wain. I knew I was behind schedule for the day, but I just couldn't make up any time. It was extremely hot out and the miles were passing by slowly. I was still on track to make twenty five miles at noon, but by one o'clock I had fallen behind the curve. Unfortunately, at that time I was also walking through an extremely exposed section and the heat was really getting to me. I kept having to take short breaks in the shade to cool down. I was also drinking a ton of water. I think I stopped at almost every stream today. Filtering water is not a quick process. It takes time. Time that I didn't have today. 
Not a lot of shade

Around three o'clock I had a tough decision to make. I was coming up to a ten mile dry stretch. I had to decide to stop early and camp close to the water source or to go farther and dry camp. If I went farther I had to carry at least three liters of water up a thousand foot climb. If I camped close to the water source I would fall behind my goal of twenty five miles for the day. I discovered last night that I had packed an extra day of food, so that wasn't a concern. I'd really like to catch up with Outro, Evac, and U-Turn, but I know that Homegrown, Sprinkles, and Wolf are right behind me. I couldn't make a decision. I decided to hike until I got to the water source and then decide. 
Really hazy now
Imagine the kind of wind needed to do this to trees

The last water source of the day was midway up a thousand foot climb. My decision was made for me before I got to the water. Before I started the climb to the water I had a very long downhill to contend with. Just as I made it to the bottom my knee really started to hurt again. Every step was causing me a searing pain. There was no way I was going any farther than the water source. To my dismay the water source was a tiny stream with no camping close by. I regretfully filled up three liters and prepared to hike another three miles. My dismay turned to elation a quarter of a mile later. I found a nice flat stealth spot tucked away right off of the trail. I set up camp and cooked dinner nestled in a tiny spot under a big tree. Several people hiked right past me and never saw me there. As a bonus I had great cell reception. I almost forgot what it is like to have reception while on the trail and in camp. I was able to update my blog and to check some of my email. 

I'm hoping tomorrow will be a better day. I really want to start doing big mileage days. I just need to find a new way to motivate myself. 

"We are what we repeatedly do; therefore excellence is not merely an act, but a habit." Aristotle 


  1. Ah, ennui is such a drag. As well as you've done thus far I don't know that the bad weather will catch you before journey's end. Eyes on the prize as always; keep trekkin' when you can. Your second wind will kick in and you'll be jet propelled. GO YODA! (Loved the Hawthorne quote at the end of your post.)

  2. I always wonder about the mileage logistics of hiking 2600 miles in 6 months. If you are feeling pressured, there is no way I could do it!

  3. Another surprise post. I didn't check all day, not expecting one. I'm still up and decided to check before turning in. If I don't have a new one to read each morning I just go back and retread the last couple that have been posted. Dad checked on fires again today. Good not seeing any close by you. I'm with Airlock, why would you sleep with your food bag!!!! You will get your groove again and make miles. I think getting in 31 miles today isn't shabby. LY

    1. If you don't hang or have a canister, it's best to sleep with it so you can defend it. Not just bears but raccoons, mice, skunks, marmots, deer, etc. will take advantage of a bag of food sitting alone in the woods.

  4. Whether you're motivated or not, you're still doing great at getting those miles in. Just keep on walking. I think you'll get your groove back too. Loved today's quote.

  5. Hi Yoda!! Long time since I read your AT Blog. I have checked back from time to time but some how missed your new adventure of the PCT. I have read and now caught up on the PCT blog. WOW Awesome pictures and as always a wonderful blog. I see you've been having some knee pain but your Yoda powers have allowed you to power through. Keep up the good work. So the question is, Do you miss the hammock??

  6. So glad that you're able to post more frequently - love reading about your adventures and seeing your fabulous pictures!

  7. Do you still agree with "everyone" that the Sierra section ends at S. Lake Tahoe?

    And I can tell you as a long time Squaw Valley skier, no, people don't have a clue. That ski lift tower near the top of Granite Chief needs a PCT sticker, if nothing else. I'll see what I can do next winter.