22 PCT miles and 1 random trail mile
PCT mile 1003
One thousand miles and I've seemed to be able to keep my senses aligned, but 1000.6 miles I completely wandered off track.
I had come to the 1000 mile marker shortly before 7pm, I was happy to see Pilsbury there, she was with 2 other thru-hikers I had not met yet, 3D and Tailor. I hadn't seen her since having to hitch down to the valley. She wanted to continue on for a few more miles as did I. So I quickly cooked dinner and put it in my pack for later and we continues on down the trail. She was ahead of me by a 100 feet or so, but could see her ahead of me. Then I lost sight of her as I headed down these horribly steep switchbacks with loose sand and rock. About a half mile down I wasn't seeing her at all and thought the trail was descending much more then the elevation profile had indicated. I thought I better check just to make sure I was on track. About this time the mosquitos were starting to swarm, they were about as bad as I've seen on the trail so far. Walking I had 10 or so on each arm and a couple dozen around my head attacking me, this is after I had just sprayed myself with repellant. So if they're that bad when your moving they're tenfold when you stop, I could barely concentrate on what I was doing, but sure enough, I had come off the PCT and was on some random trail. Crap!!! I have to go up those switchbacks I just descended, at the same time the mosquitos were multiplying by the dozen.
Fifteen minutes and about a half mile later I found where I had lost the trail. I looked at my watch 8:11pm. I booked it as fast as my tired legs would take me hoping I would find Pilsbury before it got too dark. I was in a cloud of mosquitos and getting bitten up but didn't want to take the time to stop until I lost the light of the day. I made it as far as I possibly could until things were becoming unmanageable: my tired legs tripping on rocks, getting too dark to hike without a headlamp and these insane mosquitos eating my flesh off my body. I stopped at the next...almost flat spot I could to set up my tent. Holy Crap....make them stop...I never in my life have had seen or been attacked by mosquitos like this. It was horrible. I set my pack down and had my tent set up in 2 minutes. I was on a bed of pinecones, but didn't care and couldn't stand to take the time to clear the ground. I threw my pack in the tent crawled in and zipped up. By this time about 50 mosquitos managed to invite themselves in as well. I spent the next 10 minutes playing mosquito massacre. I was fearful to leave my tent it was so bad, I didn't have my rainfly setup and my bear canister was still in my pack. I did NOT care, I would run the chance of freezing without the rainfly and sleeping with the bear canister. I was not opening the tent back up. I killed all but one mosquito that I just couldn't manage to find that kept buzzing by my head, while I was trying to fall asleep...I kept turning the headlamp on to catch it but no go. I was too tired to care and finally fell asleep.