Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Not for the Faint of Heart...

Day 13:
I left Cabazon and made my way past the wind turbines, hundreds of them, as that is pretty much all this area has to offer....wind! 

Blistering ascents and descents along skinny ridge trails with shifting sand. 

At one point I had to wait patiently for a Rattlesnake to cross the trail in front of me. 

Today was a journey towards the San Gorgonio Pass and crossing the San Andreas Fault.

After descending into yet another valley I obtained my water supply from the Whitewater River, which was at some stage an extremely wide river, but is now more like a stream. My new Sawyer mini water filter works perfectly! Pressing on north, I eventually set up camp at sundown in the riverbed alongside the stream, giving my poor feet a spa treatment in the lovely fresh, cold water.

 It was wonderful as I could cook with my jetboil and drink water to my heart's content. It's always a little scary camping out in the wilds on my own, as one is so vulnerable whilst asleep, but it was good to be settled by sundown. 

Tomorrow I climb into the San Bernardino Mountains.
I am thankful for:
1) Life, the Universe and Everything 2) Fresh, available river water
3) My ultralight water filter
4) Riverside camping
5) Meeting great people at Ziggy and The Bear.

Day 14:
A long and difficult day! I was pressing hard to get some serious mileage done, so that I could cover enough ground to make it to Big Bear by my birthday night. 

The day started off with spectacular views of the mountain I had come from and the mountain I was going to, then it followed a creek for 9 miles. 

I had a refreshing dip in a section that was flowing well and enjoyed the fact that I could drink as much water as I wanted to. 

The trail then cut back up the mountain and once again traversed over never ending switchbacks with multiple snake encounters, including the startling red Coral snake with black and white stripes. It slithered off before I could get to my camera. I pushed on for 12 hours, getting high up into the pine forests on the mountain. At one point I felt like collapsing with every painful footstep. I relied heavily on the mantra:
The trail is the master
Be like water
Go with the flow
One step in front of the other
And eventually you will get there.

It's amazing how a mantra like this can help you when you feel like you can't continue!

I pitched my tent in the forest again in solitude and had to wear all my warm clothes on top of my ninja sleeping outfit, as well as zip myself into my down mummy sleeping bag with hood. It gets so cold at night!
Lying there listening to the sounds of the woods I felt thankful for:
1) The flowing rivers and creeks that day
2) The good distance I had covered that day
3) The amazing variety of flowering plants
4) Camping in the woods
5) The vast amount of unspoiled wilderness still out here

Day 15:
It's my birthday today!
Woke up in the woods and knew I needed to hike hard to make it to a comfy bed by sundown. Fortunately this section was cooler due to a large portion of it being shaded by conifer forests. The views from the heavens were spectacular once again!

I was a bit disconcerted at one point when I passed some kind of fenced off facility which contained beautiful large bears pacing about in small cages. I have no idea what that was all about. By the afternoon my left shin and toes were killing me and when I arrived in Big Bear at mile 265/ 426.5 km, I was reduced to a hobble. My left shin had swollen significantly and the baby toe and one next to it on both feet looked infected and swollen and the top part of the balls of my feet had developed cuts that were gaping. I was elated however to be in a comfy bed, have a hot shower and eat real food on my birthday and I even bought myself a margarita in a can to celebrate! Along with a bag of epsom salts to soak my feet with.

I really felt the LOVE from all my birthday messages. Thank you to everyone who helped make my day special!
This trail is not easy! I can fully understand why a lot of people drop out after two weeks. It's a tough endeavor and by no means a walk in the park. One has to deal with harsh conditions starting out in the desert and the wear and tear on the body that ensues. I take my hat off to all those that have completed the trail and/ or given it their best shot! It is certainly not for the faint of heart.

Day 16:
Zero day taking care of my feet. I decided to take a course of antibiotics that I had brought along for emergencies, for my mangled toes as they look suspiciously infected. Also treating them with foot soaks and anti-fungal cream to cover all the bases. Catching up on laundry, my blog and strategy for the next hundred miles. Eating lots of real food! Yummy! I might take an extra zero due to reports of bad weather approaching, i.e temps going down to the 30's at night and rain..,, I'll watch and see.

1 comment:

  1. Hi. I am from india. I was following mr. Amit sheth blog. I got your reference from his blog. I have read abt your preparation and your pct journey so far. All the best.