Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day 19: June 12, 2012

June 12, 2012.

Day: 19  Daily Miles: 31.75   Total Miles: 818.75   Hours Hiking: 16.5   6:40am-11:00pm

Listen to the audio journal above or Download June 12th Audio File Here

Day 19

The melt lake below Glen Pass, south side.
June 12th, it's about almost 12pm. I have made very few miles today. I made it up and over Glen Pass, came out of the valley from Forester, but my foot today is still hurting A LOT. On top of Glen Pass I stopped for a good half hour and tried to see exactly – figure out what's wrong. Because if I can't fix it myself, then that means I'll probably have to get off trail if it doesn't heal itself on its own, which good luck. I managed to pop one other little spot – deeep blister, but its still oooooch. I stopped for about 5 minuted and got back up on it and wooooh, it really hurts. It kinda goes away after hiking on it for a while, but it's still definitely there. If you get a rock in the wrong spot, it hurts quite a bit. So today I made the decision on Glen Pass to just keep going. I have 5 days worth of food, so I should be able to make it pretty much anywhere. I'm not worried about running out if I needed to get out. I'm just going to see how far I can get and see if it gets better. I'm probably not even at 10 miles for today and it's almost 12pm. I hope to make it up the next pass and make it 25-30 miles for the 
Just after the Rae Lakes.
day. But right now if no improvements occur, I might be getting out at Mammoth, or maybe Tuolumne if I really feel like pushing it. I'll just have to see how this foot goes. It's almost like the final straw - mentally, physically I'm alright with doing big miles, but kinda of emotionally, it seems to be like - I'm in the Sierras, it's spectacularly gorgeous right now. I mean it's like a whole month ahead of schedule {seasons} and it really pains me to have to go flying through here and not be able to stop and take it all in. Ya know, its just one of those things that the trail, obviously hiking isn't easy, but for me, I'll put the time in, the miles in and it's done. It's not like its super hard. But on the other side its like comparing hard vs. fun and it has been not that much fun. Which it's not really supposed to be I guess. But I feel like whats the point if you're not stopping and absorbing and enjoying what you're doing. I mean I could be walking on I-5 if I was just trying to break a record. Thats just kind of the difference I feel like, why walk somewhere beautiful really really fast if you're not going to enjoy the beauty. You might as well be somewhere else doing that or just doing something else. So, basically coming over Glen pass I've stuck myself into the Sierras and we'll see where I go. I might be able to have my foot get better and keep on trucking or I might just have to get off trail. So I'm planning on, if it doesn't get better, get off at Mammoth, get a hotel, call Scott, get my ass picked up sometime and go from there. Or if I have to get off earlier then VVR, or Muir Trail Ranch, something like that. We'll see how the days go. I just want to make it over Pinchot Pass today, ohh its gonna be a bitch. That's all.
300 degree panorama of Glen Pass.

June 12th, Day 19. I hiked 31.75 miles ending at mile 818.75. Just about a 1.5 half down from Mather Passin some trees next to a little creek. I stopped at point 0369432E 4101047N. Ohhh where to start about yesterday... It was my lowest mileage day yet, which does have a little bit to do with having done 3 passes yesterday, each one above 12,000ft. Glen Pass, Pinchot Pass and then Mather Pass. I started off at the bottom of the climb up to Glen Pass, so that was about 3,000 to 3,500 ft climb. That morning my foot just hurt, my left foot, right on the ball between my little toe and the next toe, this shooting sharp terrible pain, which I didn't know if I could figure out what it was. I had tried the day before with no avail. I managed to get a little something out. I stopped at the top of Glen Pass after going pretty dang slow because if I kept going, I'd be stuck in the Sierra with no real easy exit. But, if I turned around I could go out Kearsarge Pass that was only about 3.5 miles back and get out at Independence. It would have been the easy way to get out. Otherwise, I 
The long long up to Pinchot Pass..can't even see it yet!
sat up there for a good 30 minutes and really looked over my foot and eventually managed to pop this super tiny little blister right in the area where the pain was. I had popped one earlier, it's kind this disjointed large blister -but I don't know, you can't really..... {Helicopter noise, me chuckling} It looks like they {Park Service} is transporting a bear. There's a helicopter flying over with a big cargo net hanging from the bottom and it's black....Anyways, I got that popped and my foot still ached. But I decided that I had plenty of food, so I might as well just keep going through the Sierras, even if I had to take it slow, I could pop out at Mammoth or find some other way out if I did happen to run out of food. I mean if that was going to be the end of my trip, I might as well try and go through the Sierras and enjoy it going slow at least. So I pressed on. The pain really didn't go away, didn't go away. I got down to the Rae Lakes it was still there. I made it a little bit passed and I stopped at a tree and tried to plan out my leaving the trail - ya know like how many days of food, how many miles, especially if my foot didn't get better. Then I just kept slowly trotting on, with no real expectation of sticking to the record because my foot was just aching. But about halfway through the day, my foot
Pinchot Pass conquered, view south! 
 started not hurting anymore. I wasn't super energetic, I knew I had a huge climb up to Pinchot Pass. You drop down to about 8,500 ft then go back up to about 12,500 ft and it's just a long long exposed climb. You can't see the pass until you're right on it, so you never know where you're headed to, and you just kind of wind around, so it's not very fun. But, you know, I finally made it to the top of that around 4 or 5 O'clock and it was only mile like maybe 20, so I was going realllllly slow. But I was at the top and was feeling good - nice views. The last time I was up there it was totally white out conditions, I couldn't see anything and it was cold and snowing. So it was big difference. There is zero snow up there. The two lakes on the back side - the north side - in 2009 were completely frozen. This time there was no ice, no snow. It's really... the difference between these two years - an average year and this year is really immense. But I kept going, down, down, down. I met a few people. My goal was to at least get up to Mather Pass to make it a 30, because the top of the pass was right about 30. I met a big group of about 10 people, all thru-hikers, and was like "what the hell', they were all kinda camping together. The approach up to Mather was really nice. It's just gentle, not 
Lake Marjorie on the way down from Pinchot Pass.
really ever steep, the switchbacks at the top are great. But before I broke out of the trees, I actually saw Not A Chance - the girl who I gave that name too in 2009 in southern California. I knew she was on trail, she's been hiking pretty much every year I think. Somewhere along the line we knew we were going to cross, and we crossed. So I spent about 20-25 minutes chatting with her. They were really stoked at what I'm doing. And I'm like "I'm trying!" This is a lot harder mentally or just emotionally. Mentally, I'm like go and just do it, fine. Physically my body is OK. I have noticed a big weight loss. Which isn't very good because I don't have much to lose, therefore, I don't know whats going to happen coming up for the next half. But yeah, it was dark, I was night hiking. I got up to the top of Mather at probably about 9:45pm and just sat there for a little while. The stars were super bright, no lights anywhere else, the moon hadn't come up - it's just a sliver now anyways. It was jut really really peaceful. Ya know being at 12,300 feet, the starts just look extra bright. I hiked down a little ways until the first set of trees with a good little campsite and that's where I parked it for the day. Phew. It was a low mile tough day with 3 passes, that's for damn sure. I really wish I would have gotten more so 
Looking south a few miles before  Mather Pass.
that I can keep up a little bit more it would have been a little nicer so that I wouldn't have to take the Reds Meadows detour or have to wait or whatever for it and actually arrive in Tuolumne Meadows without having to worry about the store being closed and getting my packaged next. So that's really just my next goal, get to Tuolumne and decide from there. I mean mentally I'm hungry, I'm tired - I mean I just need sleep. My body is....my brain is tired. My body feels OK, it just keeps going and going and going. But mentally it's just like ugggghhhhh! I wish I could walk and sleep and eat. I've been dreaming about, or day dreaming about buffets all day long. I just want to eat and do nothing. {Laughs} Actually one of the things I talked to Not A Chance about was "I've almost considered getting off trail just so I can sit around and do nothing and eat." I mean it's really that big of a pull. We'll see, we'll see. Ya know, it's one of those... It's not necessarily enjoyable. I really like where I'm at right now in the Sierras, but I'm still having to put in the miles and go fast. It's just the culmination of everything is just uggggghhhh, this weight on your shoulders. You know you're stressing all day long about miles and how they impact the future. Ya know, I don't think about time as an hour....I don't think of an hour as an hour anymore, I think of an hour as somewhere around 3-4 miles, which is a total change in perception. It's really strange actually, to think of it that way. Anytime you're not moving, are miles that you're not making. Basically part of the record that you're not going to break by more time. So, it's stress, it, it really is stressful. Just for the fact that you're tying to do something withing a schedule and you're trying to make the deadline. It's like having this huge deadline but you have to think about it every day for 60 days before it's due. Add on top of that, you just have to keep on moving, skip things and not rest and it's a pain in the ass.
360 panorama of Pinchot Pass.