Tomorrow marks my move up to 11 miles, three days a week. Actually my planned route is 11.5 but who's counting? My pack is weighing in at 18 pounds and it will stay there for another two weeks, then increasing to 20+.
This is a good example of my hiking territory. Fall is slowly receding and winter approaching, though so far not much rain which means the approach creeks are easily crossed. So far, so good.
It took me most of the week to recover from my weekend hike. This is a bummer as I have a hiking plan and this event took me out of my comfort zone. Which is sometimes good, but apparently not this time. Five days till I could walk without serious pain - I'll have to be a bit more cautious from now on out.
Earlier this week I met with a couple of local women I know who are planning to hike the PCT in 2014 and it seems like we are on the same general time schedule. Commitment is difficult for some of us (me) but it seems likely that we will start the trail together in April of next year. April first'ish if there isn't much snow, April 15th if there's the usual amount of snow. Until then, we wait. We are a bunch of older gals (me being the eldest, but perhaps not the wisest) and are under the impression that slower starts might be benificial. Just sayin.
Of course, I also have to consider my living situation and the animals I've taken on as caretaker. So I must find a good house sitter who likes rustic environments and two cats, not to mention watering and making sure one eats enough eggs to keep above water with the chickens. (We are getting an average of eight eggs a day right now.)
As a result of all this I am experiencing something uncomfortable for me. Yup, lack of control. It's crazy! I can't control the weather and I'm not a wizard. I'm worried I might not be able to find the perfect match in my housing situation, but I just have to put my best intentions out there and hope for the best. Cross your fingers for me.
One double yoke girl around here.
Aren't these kitties cute? Chance is on the left and his sister Mija to the right. Visually impared but sweet as can be. Also, sort of feral so you have to move slow or they'll scatter like blown leaves.
Holy cow - What a hike! On Saturday I joined 11 other folks to hike up to the summit of Mt. Diablo in the East Bay and this 12 mile hike kicked my butt. To be kind I will say there was about 3,300 foot elevation to get to the top from the spot where we parked the vehicles (and the corresponding elevation drop) so the fact that I can't walk well is probably reasonable. Some parts were probably 45% in grade and these were the ones that hurt on the way back down. Yikes. If I can hike this trail, even twice a month, then I should be able to hike the PCT… I've never seen a trail close to this kind of steepness before, where I wasn't wearing a helmet and attached to a harness.
Way back in June I posted here that my eventual success related to thru hiking the PCT would rest, in some part, on my ability to lose weight prior to April. My initial goal was to lose 20 pounds with a secondary goal of losing 5 to 10 more before leaving for the trail in April 2014. As of today I have lost 19 pounds, so my first goal is in sight. The best part of losing the weight is that my training hikes are so much easier on me! It is really noticeable and for this I am really grateful.
Just to catch up with the previous post I'll say that my night in the snow was just peachy. It was cold but not so cold that my water bottles froze so I reckon it was in the mid 30's over night. My sleeping system was perfect and I was warm and cozy all night. When the sun arrived I was ready to pop out of the tent and head down the hill and off to the Red Kettle in Idylwild. Yum! Good as usual. If you all are ever in that town I recommend this place above all others for good, down home food.
BTW, I learned that tyvek is NOT water proof and that plastic would have been a better ground cloth choice for snow/slush conditions. I'll have to remember this.
After a couple of days of hard driving and arriving in Idylwild there was a snow event two days ago and it took until this morning to pack up my gear and go for an overnight backpack trip.
Today's goal was a moderate 8 mile hike with an elevation gain of 3,800 feet. Everything started out well and even though I haven't hiked this high for months I did fine. The general consensus was that there wouldn't be too much snow up high so I wasn't concerned. The trail was dry for the first couple miles then I started to see little patches of snow - just enough to be pretty. After climbing about 1,000 feet the ground was pretty much covered with snow but the trail itself was clear, if wet.
Once I got to about 8,400 feet there was snow everywhere! Not so deep really, right around 4-6 inches but in some spots a foot or more. I was slipping and a sliding around even with good traction on my shoes. Who knew walking in soft snow is like walking in sand? I was getting pretty fatigued, with 3 miles to go, and another 1,200 feet of climb. If there was this much snow now what would it look like when I got to Little Round Valley, my planned stop for the night?
So this where fear comes in. BTW, I'm always afraid when I backpack by myself in a new area. This is a given. The big question for me is when do I modify my plans? Since I always experience some fear when does it reach another level? The problem is I don't always know which is which.
So there I was at about 2pm, standing in snow, already tired. Still 3 miles, deeper snow to come and I'm by myself. What to do? Push on against my fear? Retreat to a lower elevation where I will be dealing with less snow? What, if anything does this mean about my ability to do hard things? Is it failure to change plans? Or is it smart to recognize a potentially dangerous situation and act accordingly?
Whether for good reasons or not, I did turn around and slid my way down to the closest camping area, near Strawberry Junction. I found an almost snow free spot to pitch my tent, settled myself into dinner and have been reading in my tent since dusk. It's gonna be a cold one tonight, here at 8,000 feet.
Art fun commences tomorrow and there will be lots of people coming through here for the next two days. I've helped as much as I can and tomorrow I'm heading over to Ojo Caliente to check out an estate sale.
I'll also try to connect with a realtor to check out a piece of property for sale, real nearby. Like a five minute walk down the arroyo. There is a one acre lot that is for sale for 10k. On a creek, with willows and cottonwoods, but also in a flood plane. So we will see. It's a nice community here and it would be fun to own land.