Monday, August 8, 2016

Day 98- Oops

Aug 08, 2016
Butcherknife Creek(1464.6) to Logging Road(1493.9) 29.3 Miles
Total up/down:+8460/-8027 feet

I knew that I was in for a rough day today. Before I go to bed each night I always look at what the next day holds in store for me. I start planning out where I'm going to stop for water and where I can end the day at. I look for a listed tentsite with a water source. I pick a spot twenty one miles away(my minimum daily mileage) and then range out from there. Usually it is not difficult to come up with suitable locations for a twenty one to twenty five mile day. Today was much more difficult. I was looking at either a seventeen mile day or a twenty seven mile day. Due to the terrain there just wasn't any suitable locations to camp at. For a change water wasn't going to be an issue. All of the water sources were on the trail. I crossed small streams all day long. I was seriously considering making it a seventeen mile day. The elevation gain and loss looked atrocious, the camping situation was dire, and my feet have been feeling like they went through a meat grinder. I decided to do what I always do... Just keep walking. One of the most important lessons I learned on the AT, was that everything has a way of working out in the end. That seems to be especially true when I just let go. It is nice to have a tentative plan, but as it is in the civilized world as well, plans rarely work out the way you want them to. 

I drifted off to sleep last night with a tenative plan as to where I would end my day and a solid plan for snack and water stops. I don't drink very much during the first third of the day. Since I have a liquid breakfast I stay pretty well hydrated. Usually one liter will last me at least ten to fifteen miles. The weather was noticeably cooler today. The trail today was almost entirely through the forest. I didn't have a lot of direct sunlight or exposed sections. I managed to stretch out my one liter of water for almost eighteen miles. During those eighteen miles I only stopped once. I used that single break to eat a poptart, air out my feet, and pee. I managed to distract myself extremely well. I didn't even notice that I had gained and then lost almost four thousand feet of elevation. My creative juices were flowing and I have come up with several good ideas for life post trail(sorry no spoilers). I think the lack of visual stimuli helped. I wouldn't call today boring, but it definitely wasn't awe inspiring nonstop beauty. 
Example of my view...
Almost all day...

Eventually I had to stop to collect and purify water. I came across a nice ice cold river so I decided to take a long break there. I soaked my feet as I washed my socks and collected water. I meet a nice retired gentleman who was fishing for trout. He was quite impressed that I was hiking the trail. He offered me a ride into Mt. Shasta. Apparently he was concerned about me having to hitchhike there tomorrow. I kindly declined, explaining that I don't skip trail miles. I still had seventeen more miles to hike before I got to the Mt. Shasta trailhead. He wished me luck before we parted ways. 
Good place for a foot soak

The next thirteen miles were more of the same. I wound my way up the mountain. My only views were of the surrounding forest. Eventually I made it to around tree line. I had gotten much closer to Mount Shasta. I had clear views of it off and on for the remaining miles. 
Really close now

As I walked towards my last water source of the day I started smelling a strong piney scent. It smelled like fresh cut Christmas trees. I was surprised to come by a logging operation. They were cutting down trees about twenty feet from the trail. I was shocked to see that happening so close to a protected corridor. 
Bald patch from logging

I know our wood comes from logging like this, but it was shocking to see it first hand. 

I only had two more miles to hike until my water source/camping site, but I was really starting to struggle. I had hit the wall and my body did not want to go any farther. I tried listening to Harry Potter, but it did nothing to distract me. I finally limped into the water source and was dismayed to discover that there was nowhere to camp. I looked at my maps only to discover that there wasn't any camping listed there. I had misremembered the information. Or maybe it was just wishful thinking. I collected enough water to dry camp and cursed myself for another long hard two and a half miles. The terrain of the trail did not afford any camping in this area, I had no choice but to keep walking. Finally the trail dumped me off onto a logging road and I found a flat spot to cowboy camp on. I had unintentionally done an almost thirty mile day. My only consolation was this...
A room with a view

A cooked dinner and watched the sunset over Mount Shasta. Tomorrow I will treat myself to a hotel room in Mount Shasta. It will be my first bed in four hundred miles. 

"Each day you wake up, you wake up with billions around the world but when the sun sets, not all retire. It is a joyful privilege to note that you are a unique person among billions of people who wake up each day to walk on the surface of the earth. It is a noble responsibility to note that you have to use this privilege effectively."
- Ernest Agyemang Yeboah


  1. Love the beautiful woods you hiked through today-so peaceful. What a great reward at the end a LONG day with that incredible view of Mount Shasta.

  2. I understand that you met "Ambulance" on the trail. She is an Aussi hiker that I met at Ebbetts Pass where she stopped for some trail magic. Small world!

  3. LOVE your "room with a view"!!! Glad you'll have a bed and shower tomorrow!! Your tease about "post trail life" had got me wondering - what and where!! Can't wait to hear...guessing we won't hear until "post trail"!

  4. I'm glad you had time to think about life after trail. Anxious to hear your thoughts. Mount Shasta is definitely getting closer. A bed and hot shower are things I would be thinking about after 400 miles. All the beautiful surroundings, and then, a big ugly spot. Hope the foot soak was a help. Waiting to see 1500 mile mark, probably in Thursday's post. I'm still impressed that you don't skip miles, a purest!! I remember when we met you in VA last summer. We picked you up on one side of road and when took you back you you walked back across, not to miss steps. LY

  5. Another great post! As for your "post trail life" maybe you should run for President!! After 5 1/2 months living in the woods not knowing or caring what is happening in the rest of the world - you would be considered the best qualified candidate!!

  6. What? Life after the PCT is planning for next summers continental divide hike isn't it?��
    I agree with Steve....a "purist" is exactly what we need in the White House!
    Enjoy sleeping in a real bed, and do some major foot soaking.
    Stay safe and healthy, and enjoy natures beauty.
    Kathy in NH

  7. Some of the pics are like postcards; beautiful. And a good mileage day again. Keep kickin', Far Walker. Post trail living will look different once you're there. Good you've learned about "best laid" plans and how they can be knocked sideways. Whatever life after the PCT experience, I dare say you're up to the challenge. GO YODA!

    Double G in St. Louis