June 21st, 2021
Mile Marker: 891.8
Miles Hiked Today: 22
I woke up this morning with condensation on my sleeping bag and tent. I was dreading getting out of my tent because of the mosquito bunch waiting for me. On top of that, some how my sleeping pad has been deflating worse and worse each night and I woke up at 3 am with majority of my body touching the ground. I aired it back up and went back to sleep but know that it will be an issue the next couple of nights.
I put back on my rain pants and rain jacket, this is the only way to keep them from biting me and ran to get my bear canister and then back to my tent. I packed up as much as I could in my tent, ate a quick bar, and packed up my tent. Rush, rush, rush, avoid the mosquitos.
Planner and I then sped walked down the trail trying to out run the mosquitos. We were feeling pretty exhausted early on. We had a decent sized climbed ahead of us and I had decided that we would climb a good amount and then try to find a spot to have actual breakfast.
We were both needing a break from the mosquitos and a place to get our head on straight.
We came to this huge rock outlook and decided it was perfect. We sprawled out and I made oatmeal and coffee and Tide and Bottleneck also showed up. Tide said it perfectly, “I feel defeated today.”
We were all feeling it. Coming off of 3 25 mile days in the Sierras is huge. I would say majority do not do that many miles. We then decided to hike only 22 miles for the day and have 15 miles into town the next. We needed to cut back miles for sure.
After eating and getting back into a better mental state I thought about all the hardships of a thru hike. Let me just be frank, it’s not easy in the least bit.
You are going to be too hot, too cold. You are going to have dry or itchy skin. You will have blisters and hot spots on your feet. Your feet will swell and start to look like disgusting. You will have mosquitos swarming you. You will be thirsty. Your back and shoulders will hurt like you’ve never experienced. You will always feel some kind of hunger. You will smell like a pig pen majority of the time. Oh how I could go on and on and on.
We had been told and have also realized for ourselves, that thru hiking is addicting and today I started to wonder why this was. My answer? I think, is because thru hiking makes you feel.
Physically, mentally, emotionally. In every regard you are going to feel. Which in return, in a way, makes you feel like you are truly living.
I think sometimes when I am back home I get stuck in this cycle of auto pilot. Where I am comfortable for the most part in every aspect of the day and keep it that way. Some days I never have to struggle or feel and I can be numb and cruise by.
Out here though? All our senses are heightened as we take each step north. We are seeing something new, having to watch where we step. We are smelling something new; the trees, the flowers. We are hearing something new; the birds, the wind. We touch the ice cold water and feel the breeze cool off our sweat. And physically and mentally, it’s war, everyday.
Everyday for the most part we are uncomfortable, but I think that uncomfortableness is what makes us feel alive. It makes us truly appreciate this opportunity we have to create an epic chapter in our story. To do something different.
It’s a strange “addiction” but I’m glad I have it.
After we hiked on for 8ish more miles we came to a yet another big cold lake. I wonder why water makes everything look so beautiful. Planner and I were the first to arrive and since today is the summer solstice aka “Hike Naked Day” we decided that we would skinny dip in before anyone got there.
Of course the water was freezing so we didn’t stay long and hopped out, grabbed warm clothes and sleeping bags and ate some food. Then multiple other people started showing up. I choose this time to take a nap in the cool breeze and shining sun. It was such a great spot to relax.
It was hard to leave but after a couple hours we mustered up the energy and Conrad, Planner, and I hiked the 5 miles to camp together.
It’s weird laying on my sleeping pad tonight at camp still smiling even though I am utterly purely exhausted. Down to my core. Today was hard mentally and physically. I need more rest and less hiking. But we did it. I did it.
And you know what, I’ll get up tomorrow and repeat the same thing because this lifestyle is addicting. These new experiences are thrilling and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now.
Iz and Oz