TD 49 was a zero day – taken because I was so tired, hoping a day of rest would renew my energy. I had some serious concerns, that I mentioned only briefly to David. During TD 49 my ankles and feet became seriously swollen. I had never experienced anything like it. Naturally they felt stiff and awkward. I soaked them in the cold river near our campsite and rested during the day with my legs elevated. They only seemed to swell more. It was a little scary, were my legs only going to be normal if I was constantly hiking? Would the swelling go down?
4:00 am came too soon on TD 50. The swelling was down slightly, but still concerning. I had a climb to over 10,000 ft right off the bat. Knowing that the north face descent would be in snow, fatigued with snow navigation.
I just started slowly, enjoying the snow free trail and not pushing my pace. The views, of course are so beautiful, and wild flowers were blooming, some new to me.
The route winds round and round and upand down, though mostly up. Encountering 4 SOBO section hikers in the morning. Two were aborting their hike due to fatigue and snow stress. Those two, however gave me excellent help with direction/navigation and saved me much time with their thoughtfulness.
I have included a picture, quite typical of the trail, you will see in the forefront that the trail is running like a stream, then there is a muddy section and a snow mound. The snow mound may continue a short distance or quite far. The mud sections are sometime unavoidably ankle deep. After the mud section I actually hope for a stream crossing to get my feet clean. LOL.
Two coffees were wearing off and I was thinking about a jolt of instant coffee before 10 AM. My secret formula for “energy”: two Via coffee packs and 2 ibuprofen. I forced myself to wait and ate a peppermint.
Some sections of snow free trail allowed some semi-respectable mileage. In late afternoon I encountered two more SOBO section hikers. They were amazed at the mileage I was ashamed with. They had started early that morning from Ebbett’s Pass. Ready to pack it in for the day they asked me if there was a nearby campsite to the south. I could not remember one, I apologized.
A few miles later at MP 1036, I almost literally staggered into a lovely, wide-open camp site with a nearby creek. Only 19 miles for the day and I was exhausted. I also felt dizzy and disconnected from my body. It was nice, though to have lots of time to set up camp, my water gravity water filtration, stove and general organization. I had brought extra food but I was eating it quickly, dried fruit, cashews hemp hearts. Dinner had everything I could throw in it and I was full.
Martin, my German friend came in when I was cooking. He is young and string, he was fired and frustrated. We talked about the rest of the journey, he is considering skipping ahead and going SOBO in hopes of avoiding the tiring frustration of the snow.
More hikers filtered in to this large camp area but all were all tired, setting up tents and eating quietly as I laid down in my tent to sleep.
I have been asked what constitutes a camp site on the PCT. It is minimally a flat space large enough for a small tent. It best conditions it is a space with trees and dry flat areas, and a creek nearby. Many sites have very wet ground now because of high snow melt.
I slept well.