Still A Little Shaken – Day 65: Crabtree Meadow Ranger Station to Tyndall Creek Campsite

PCT Miles: 767 to 774.5 + 1 from campsite 
Miles: 8.5
We get a later start, because we don’t have passes, just creek crossings. We’re trying to get as close to the notorious Forester Pass as we can do we can do it early in the morning while the snow is still hard.
I hike by myself for a while because the terrain is still dry. LiterBit and Co wait for Sole Sister and I at the crossings. I feel bad – I’m happy to scout crossings, but because I’m not as fast I always arrive later, and I also get the sense that the group doesn’t trust me to find them. I’m feeling weird about my position in the group, like a hanger-on, not someone who is contributing and capable. I try to tell myself this isn’t the case and just be grateful that their judgment is good and they are finding safe places for us to cross. 
Patches of snow slow us down, as does the and altitude. I’m struggling to figure out how to take care of myself while also group hiking – I feel guilty when I need a break to eat so I often keep pushing and then start crashing, and even when I push I lag behind. 
We cross our last Creek for the day, Tyndall Creek. We get back to trail and find some shade/sun and eat while we dry out our shoes and socks. We want to try to do a couple more miles to get nearer to the pass, but Lysol, who has been hiking with us, is encouraging us to stay. Rainfly gets his stuff together and goes to find his own campsite in the next few miles. There are already several campers setting up camp where we are. Eventually Co and Sole take a look at the upcoming section, which they can see with a little walk ahead, and realize it’s largely snow covered and slanted. That settles it. We’re staying. We set up our tents. 
Just as I’m finishing up getting camp ready, Karma and Nirvana walk up. “How did the stream crossing go?” I ask. 
“Eventful,” Nirvana says, and I look closer and see that Karma is crying. She’d fallen in, lost her poles and banged up her knees. She’d caught herself on the bank – she’d only been a few steps in – and gotten back on shore, and then Nirvana had gone back to cross with her. She was okay but shaken. I got up and hugged her and tried to keep from crying, too. Karma is one of my favorite people out here and an incredibly strong hiker and it hurt to see her hurt. A little later, after she’d gotten set up and started cooking, I went over to chat with her. We caught up a little. I tell her I’m nervous about Forester, especially because of how Whitney went with my group where I was by myself for some sketchy sections. Soulshine says I should be clear with the group that I don’t want to be alone. Karma tells me that after the crossing she’s feeling nervous too and it’s nice not to be alone in that. I really missed her and Nirvana, and Soulshine is really nice too, and I’m really glad we’re traveling in the same bubble again, even if I’ve attached myself to another group. 
I hope I feel a little braver tomorrow. I feel like I haven’t had time to rewrite the story of Whitney into one of triumph (I made it up and down despite my fears) and instead it’s replaying in my head as a series of what-ifs – what if Forester is worse, what if I’m alone again, what if I’m not safe?
But there are only three options on the trail, really. You stay put, you turn around, or you move forward. And I intend to keep going. 

4 responses to “Still A Little Shaken – Day 65: Crabtree Meadow Ranger Station to Tyndall Creek Campsite”

  1. Hello Colleen,
    I am impressed!! You properly don’t remember me. We meet briefly int Mt Laguna. At the last water stop it was a round cattle trough. We just said briefly hello and parted our way. Back then I was day hiking with my friends the section from MT Laguna to the 76 in Julian.
    Let me tell you a little about me , so this whole thing is not becoming to weird after all. I am a complete stranger to you. My Name is Maik and I immigrated here from Germany more than 30 years ago, I am married to the love of my life Sabine and have two children that are almost out of the house. Like you I lost my mom at an early age, my heart aches every time you write about how you miss your mom. I have no advise or I would love to give it to you, I still carry that same pain with me and always will, you just get used to it I guess, but it is just below the surface.
    Anyhow, some how I picked you out of ALL the PCT blog writers, I like your writing style and you are very honest when you blog. Only later it occurred to me that we had meet, after seeing one of your pictures.
    It has always been a dream of me to hike the PCT, but I think I need to wait until I retire I just can’t afford taking that much time off. With that said I like to follow your endeavor hiking the PCT, if that is ok?
    I also can relate to be not as speedy as most other people, I’m short and my stride is just a little shorter then my friends . Hence I spend a good deal of time chasing my friends , they are all super tall.
    Congrats climbing up Mt. Whitney!!
    The most interesting thing I have learned from your blog is the amount of people on the trail. I always thought this is more like a spiritual long hike with lot’s of time spend inside the head, but it is not so.
    I can’t wait to see your next post!
    Cheers Maik

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Maik! I’m sorry to say I forget almost everything about a day after it happens so I don’t remember you, but I’m so glad you found me! Thank you for sharing your experience about losing your mom – I find the same thing, that it always hurts but it’s below the surface. I hope you get to hike the PCT! I’m sure you would be wonderful at it.


  2. This is Karma’s mom. I heard about the lost poles, but not the banged up knee. Please give her a hug. Karma says you are having a better time then you let on. I’m proud of you for hanging on and not letting your challenges stop you from doing what you want to do. Few in this world have your strength to actually follow their dreams. Peace be with you!!


    1. Karma is an awesome hiker and I hope you’re super proud of her 🙂


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