Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Day 102 Unexpected Nastiness

Day 102
August 30th
21 miles 
PCT mile 2024.5

At 5:00am I woke up to rain drops pitter pattering on my sleeping bag and ground cloth. Groaning I rolled over and grabbed my rain fly from my pack and threw it over myself and all my stuff like a blanket and closed my eyes. For the next hour it lightly sprinkled on and off for short intervals of 5 minutes, eventually I was awake enough to start packing up. By 6:00am it appeared the rain had stopped. Thanks to the early morning wakeup call I was ready to roll by 7:00am. The sky was still overcast but looked promising for some clearing. The plan was 27 miles.

Four miles in I stopped for my second cup of coffee.

After my coffee break it started sprinkling again. The rain was light enough and the temperatures were conducive to excellent hiking weather. At noon I stopped for lunch already 14 miles in, I was already halfway done with my day of hiking. Shortly thereafter, I was joined by Sanford, Eeyore, and Party Saver. I mentioned how great the weather was for hiking. Also it's cold enough if you stop for too long you'll get cold, so it keeps you moving, so I didn't take too long for lunch.

Things changed quickly after lunch. The rain turned from a light sprinkle to a constant rain, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped. I kept thinking the rain would lighten up, but it did no such thing, conditions were worsening. Sanford caught up to me and we started hiking together, "if I get too cold I may have to stop and set up camp" I told him. 

"Just a couple more hours," he encouraged me...we had 8 miles to the planned camp of the night. I let him go ahead and just focused on keeping him within eyesight. Visibility was only about 100 ft at this point, we were in some dense fog as well. We came over a ridge and then we were being pounded by sleet blowing horizontally. Eventually I dropped back to go to the bathroom, that's when my hands stopped working...I could not snap the buttons on my seemed like 5 minutes of an useless effort...finally I gave up, I thought I lost Sanford for sure at that point. Luckily for me he was around the corner waiting for me. "I can't button my pants," I yelled half-laughing to him. We got two more miles and Sanford said he was done...we were both soaked and cold. We found a flat spot to set up camp and was then joined by a third hiker, Party Saver. It took a joint effort on all our behalfs to get all three tents set up as none of our hands were working correctly, it felt as if I had 10 thumbs and no fingers.

It was only 3:30pm when we set up camp but we were hunkered down the the rest of the day. The storm was here to stay and we needed to get warm and as dry as possible. All I wanted to do was get off my soaking wet pants and crawl into my nice warm bag. Once I was somewhat dry and warmer, I was starving I managed to scarf down a large chocolate bar
Followed then by a Snickers bar, then dinner and some half-eaten snacks/bars from earlier in the day I had started munching on before it got too wet to hike and eat.

I was also carrying an apple pie, which I managed to preserve it's integrity, all 21 miles today.
The pie was given to us last night by a thru-hiker alum (Senator) who was climbing Mt Washington, when we hiked through his camp. Plan was to have pie in camp tonight and warm it by the fire, Sanford and I decided to dig in and enjoy it anyway, saving half for the other two.

Despite the conditions it was nice to have such an early day and get to go to bed early.

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