PCT miles: 328 to 347
Well, I didn’t get eaten by a mountain lion. I did have a dream that I heard something outside my tent which led to a mountain lion pawing at my tent near my back. I couldn’t scream and as I tried to get myself to make noise in the dream, ended up making a small murmur that woke me from the dream.
Still, I was actually fine and woke up having slept well and, since I didn’t have a bunch of other campers around to judge whether I should start packing or not – and with the looming idea of being behind Rawhide and wanting McDonalds – I managed to start walking a half an hour earlier than usual, at 6:30. I quickly ran into some other hikers who passed me so it was good to know there were other people on the trail.
I managed to get into a good rhythm and was feeling strong and did 4 miles, so wondered if I could do 8 without stopping. I was still feeling good so I thought, I wonder if I can hike until 10 without stopping. At 9:40 my body let me know it was hitting a sugar low and by 9:50 I was stopped in the shade drinking Gatorade.
I stopped long enough to finish the drink and then got myself hiking again. I was only 5 miles outside of the McDonald’s and I wanted to try to get there without stopping. The trail definitely made it a challenge for me with some pretty steep downhills.
I ended up arriving right around 1230, which meant I’d hiked 14 miles in 6 hours, which is pretty damn fast for me. Today was the first day I really felt like I could tell that I’ve been getting stronger and that my body is capable of a little pushing.
At McDonald’s there were SO many hikers. Nonhikers would walk in and say “woah.” People would make “what stinks in here?” faces. Our packs were everywhere. Our phones and chargers were piled by the two outlets on the wall. One hiker, Squarepants, who was also celebrating his birthday, managed to plug his phone into a ceiling outlet and duct taped his phone to the wall.
The employees didn’t seem particularly phased – we’re not their first round of hiker trash I guess. And a few people asked is what we were doing. One man thought we were skiing (because of our trekking poles.) Many thought we were a hiking group. One group of women, sisters and two high school friends, stopped and chatted with us a while and told us how impressed they were.
I ate a chicken sandwich and fries – McDonald’s has really upped their game because my sandwich was delicious. I debated for a minute and then also ordered a strawberry shake, which was not as fresh but still tasty. I sat with Caddy and Hobo and Francoise, and eventually table hopped and talked to various people. Twerk and Rawhide were there, as were Mousetrap, Tallboy, Rachel, Mermaid, David, Julia, and a whole host of people. Even Tarantino showed up, telling us he’d done a 26.5 mile day to catch us.
I’d planned to get back on trail at 3 but when I went to leave at 330 I realized my phone, which I’d plugged in, hadn’t actually been charging. My phone charger is near dead, too, and I’m two days out of town, so I decided to wait to get my phone to charge. I ordered some chicken nuggets and a side salad and chatted with more hikers. Rawhide’s thighs are really hurting her again so Mousetrap gave her some Desitin cream to try to help and we laughed about her smelling like diaper rash cream.
All of us were bummed that there’s no water for 22 miles, which meant carrying 5 liters of water out of McDonald’s, which means a very heavy pack.
Rawhide and I didn’t head out (with Julia – now Hungry G – along for the ride) until 545, with plans to do 5 miles. Rawhide quickly got ahead of us (she later apologized and said she’d booked it because her thighs were killing her, but she’s just a fast lady) and Julia and I chatted for a good remainder of the hike, which made the last 5 miles pass quickly, although my feet started yelling at me as we approached camp.
Also, I wanted to say that the trail isn’t always sweeping views of nature. Lately we’ve been passing a lot of roads, rail road tracks, etc. Tonight as we’re falling asleep we can hear a woman yelling – at first I thought it was at a dog but it sounds like a person?