Small drainage (1684.4) to N. of Weasel Spring (1718.9) 34.5 Miles
Total Miles: 904.5
Elevation: 7,418 feet
I got the best sleep of the entire trail last night. I woke up completely refreshed. I really wanted to hike a big day. I can’t remember exactly what my biggest day on the pct was. It seems like something I should remember, but I just can’t. I don’t think I have ever hiked more than 34 miles in a day. I know a lot of people that have done 40’s and 50’s. I’m not sure if those kind of days are in my playbook, but I was pretty confident that I could pull something in the mid thirties. I was up and out of camp a few minutes before 6. My pack felt pretty light and my legs felt good after doing a thirty yesterday. The best thing about doing something once is that it gives you confidence to do it again. I had hiked 31.1 miles into Ghost Ranch on this trail, but I was motivated by town food and showers. Yesterday I easily pulled a thirty knowing that I had already done one. Today I just knew that I would get at least thirty in. I was a little worried about how hot it would be today. Usually when I get up it is freezing, but today was only cold. Within the first three miles of hiking I had taken off almost all of my layers. The only thing that stayed on a while longer were my pants. I was able to pass by the first few water sources. I planned my water carry perfectly yesterday. Turtle and I discussed how much we should carry and I decided on 2.5 liters. We were only 3 miles from camp and I was well hydrated. 2.5 liters gave me 1.5 to cook with and drink with a liter left over for the morning. Turtle disagreed with me. He was nervous about the water report and decided to carry 4 liters. We are the first thruhikers through this section this year. The only comments from 2018 are from someone hiking a small section back in early May. That means we are primarily relying on comments made from around June of years past. Turtle didn’t feel comfortable with some of the comments. I decided to disregard the comments from the section hiker. That person doesn’t have the experience or knowledge of what we have already hiked through. We probably have different standards for water quality. I know hiking New Mexico changed my opinion of what is drinkable and not drinkable. It was a gamble on my part, but it paid off. All of the water sources that were a concern were perfectly fine. I was able to go light and fast today because of my gamble(educated guess).
The first few miles were easy and went by quickly. The most exciting thing that happened was seeing a few trees again. It has been a long stretch without any.
For some unknown reason I decided to turn my phone off of airplane mode and was stoked to see that I had service. Within minutes my phone rang. I’m not sure how my dad knew my phone was on or if he just got lucky. We chatted for a few minutes and I was able to give him some work to do for me. It is nice to have an executive assistant. If anyone is in the market for a new cell phone plan I highly recommend Verizon. They have hands down the best coverage in the country. I am shocked at show often I have coverage in pretty remote locations. Today was just one of hundreds of examples. And no I’m not being paid to say so. Ask Sprint or T-Mobile customers how often they can use their phones on the trail. Heck, most of the time their phones won’t work in town. I was able to get a few things taken care of while I hiked. Some times walking dirt roads are awesome. In fact I have decided to stop calling them dirt roads and refer to them as parallel trail.
Cell phone tower
The morning miles passed by quickly and I stuck to a strict policy of 10 minute breaks. I knew that I couldn’t sustain that all day, but I kept it up for the first 20 miles. I only saw Turtle once today. He walked up just as I was finishing a break around mile 16. We agreed not to wait on each other today. If we got separated we will wait for each other in South Pass City before hitching to Landers, WY. I really enjoyed the freedom of hiking my own hike. I was motivated to hit 35 miles. The slight change of scenery helped with my motivation. There was a greater variety of terrain. There were rolling hills, big mountains, and different types of plants and wildflowers. Instead of walking a one long parallel trail there were many twists and turns. There was also more elevation change today. My muscle groups appreciated the change. I was able to work out different muscles because I climbed, descended and walked flat terrain. Unfortunately the wildlife stayed the same. Just horses, antelope, and of course cows.
So creepy when they just stare at you
A couple of nice ponds today
Snow capped mountains in the distance
Steep, short ups
New type of flower
Thanks to Anita Watts for identifying this as Indian Paintbrush!
One of the highlights from today was hitting a maintained water cache. I figured that since we were so early in the season it would be empty. I carried a few liters of pond water just to be sure I had water. I stopped by the cache and was shocked to see that it was completely full. It was inside of an enclosure with a sign about the cdt. The box where the gallon water jugs was kept was insulated so the water was almost cold. A man named, Hawkeye maintains this cache with 10 one gallon jugs. Thanks Hawkeye! The best part was the trail register and Charles Decker info. In the trail register I found my friends had signed in last year. It gave me a thrill to see familiar names.
I finished the AT with Rusty, Click, and Cheesebeard
The quote from Charles Decker really spoke to me. I wish I could type it out for you, but it is way too long. You’ll just have to make due with the pictures I took.
Sorry if that is hard to read
Water cache enclosure
I was a little disappointed with not reaching my goal today. I had to make a hard decision. I ended up stopping short because I didn’t like the look of the terrain ahead of me. The trail was going into an area with high grass. I don’t like camping in grass because of condensation. I also found 4 or 5 ticks on my shoes and kegs today. None of them had attached to me yet, but I know they live in grassy areas and wanted to avoid them. They are the bigger type of tick. I’m pretty sure that the tiny ones are the ones to worry about. Although I’m not 100% sure of that. Regardless of worrying about Lyme disease, ticks gross me out. I found a nice patch of dirt two feet off of the trail and decided to call it quits for the day. It is one of them few times I have fallen short of a goal, but I’m okay with that. After 34.5 miles in the heat with zero cloud cover I’m exhausted.
“Success does not consist in never making mistakes, but in never making the same one a second time.”
– George Bernard Shaw
Almost forgot to post my 900 mile marker
Field of Iris in bloom. Mangas would have loved this