PCT SOBO day 5 – back to the start!

Tent site – tent site
12.8miles 2727ft up. 2128ft down

I woke in the middle of the night and my feet were on fire. They were swollen and so so itchy. They were itchier than an itchy thing in itchy town. I smothered the itchy bits in zinc oxide creme, popped an allergy tablet and went back to sleep. It was still raining. 

I woke at 5:30 and it seemed as though the rain has stopped. I made the decision to get going early and wait for the others at Harts Pass. I was 99% sure they were behind me.

I couldn’t bare to put my wet socks and shoes on. My feet are sore and need some tlc. I have a fresh brand new pair of socks so I put them on. Then I decided to try out what I had seen others doing. I put zip lock bags over my socks and then in my shoes. I had to move some things around in my packs to find the only two I had which were big enough for my feet. I was concerned that all I would do was slip and slide around inside my trainers.

I packed up quickly, I’m now an expert in taking down my tent under the fly, and left a message with the girls to tell Catwater I would wait at Harts Pass. It wasn’t raining but I wore my soggy rain gear so it would dry out. Plus I had to protect my clothes from my pack which was wet. I set off at 7 and I moved slowly. I woke up needing to make a deposit, but I knew in 7 miles there was a pit toilet. I could wait. I ran into a couple of day hikers, nobo class of 2001, kinda cool. I asked them to give the message to Catwater too. 

I stopped to take a lot of photos of the clouds as they moved in and out of the mountains. My food choice is pretty limited now so I made it through the morning on biscuits and sweets (cookies and candy). I’m longing for a hot nutritious meal. I knew there wouldn’t be any trail magic at Harts pass, but I allowed a tiny bit of me to hope there was. 

I saw a big group camped, and I saw a couple from the class of 2013 heading north from Stehekin to Manning Park. 2013 was a big snow year and they had to cut their trip short so they are here finishing up.

Navigating south is a whole lot harder than going north. The trail is mostly signed for northbounders and the mileage on the halfmile app only goes one way so you have to subtract your mileage. Sometimes that’s too taxing early in the morning. There were a couple of confusing junctions and I left arrows in the dirt for my friends.

I got to harts pass in just over 3 hours. Back to where we started. I made a beeline straight to the pit toilet, and the urge was gone. No movements. But at least I was able to get rid of my dirty toilet paper.

I set up camp by the trail and waited for the others. There was a nice picnic table a stones throw away but I didn’t want them to miss me. I reckoned I would have about an hour to wait. So I ‘yard saled’ my tent and dried the foot of my sleeping bag. I aired my feet, this ziplock thing really works! I wish I had done it sooner. My socks weren’t bone dry, they were a little damp from the condensation but a little damp is a whole world away from ringing wet. My feet were much happier. I made a hot chocolate and read some of my book and kicked back and relaxed. 

Almost exactly an hour later Catwater pops out of the trail onto the road. Yeah you’re alive! And we greeted each other with a hug. We discussed the events of last night and it turns out she was camped in the trees above the site that was flooded. I could see her and she couldn’t hear me. When I was there I thought about shouting but I didn’t and just carried on. I knew she wouldn’t have gone any further because of Dan and Jackie. But like she said, when the weather turns and you’re cold, wet, hungry and fed up you go into survival mode. We both knew each other would be fine. All’s well that ends well. 

The others had stashed some food in bear canisters at Harts Pass before leaving and they went to retrieve it. They all had too much food so I gladly took some off their hands! New food!! And I wouldn’t have had enough to get me through the next three days anyway. 

Jackie is having some problems with her knee so I offered to tape it for her. I drew on some of my knowledge from the YouTube videos I watched about taping my knee and did the best I could. Hopefully it will help.

After a leisurely break, with a picnic table and a yard sale we were off up the trail again. The sun was out and I could finally break out of my waterproofs. And the realisation of how ridiculous I’m looking became apparent. Shorts. Tape. Compression sleeves. Plastic bags and stinky shoes. I’ve never cared much for fashion. I hung my wet socks off my pack in the hope they would dry a little. Every time the wind blew I got a whiff of them. Gross. 

After a burn area we followed the contours, gradually ascending. We were able to see the trail far out ahead of us, curving around the hills. Jackie’s knee feels better. We only had 5.7 miles to get to the camp site. I still battle in my head with the low mileage. But my feet are a bit of a mess and I am finding myself walking differently to compensate for the blister on my left foot, and I’m conscious of doing that because that’s when you start to get injuries. Just like my shins are overcompensating for my tight calves (the compression sleeves are really helping with that). So I would rather do lower mileage and keep going than go too hard and have to get off the trail because of an injury. Who am I trying to convince. Me or you?! Regardless, I’m having a great time with these guys and that’s what counts.

After crossing a large snow field we were soon at camp and it was sunny!! We were able to air our tents and sleeping bags properly, my shoes are now 70% dry and I have dry socks. I was able to air dry my feet and tend to the sore bits. I’m going to make a decision in the morning as to draining the blister or not. Because it’s been so wet the trail isn’t at all dusty and my feet haven’t been too dirty. 

We all ate together, I had a donated instant mashed potato, with donated freeze dried cheese and a string cheese. The mashed potatoes were as I remembered – difficult to finish! As the sun disappeared behind the mountains it gets chilly pretty quickly so by 6pm we had all retreated to our tents. 

Now my body decides it’s time to release the hostages, so while I’m having a wilderness poo something stings / bites me on the bum cheek and causes me to jump up. That really stung. Nothing to show for it so far. We’ll see how that goes.  

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I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Donate here.

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8 thoughts on “PCT SOBO day 5 – back to the start!

  1. Trying to figure out from your picture where you camped this night, but it appears to me that it must be up on the ridge area where there were flat spaces just before the long switch backs down to Glacier pass. I am probably wrong. That would have been about ~8 miles south of Hart’s Pass. It did not show on Halfmile as a camping area, (it only showed Glacier pass), but I did think it would be good if weather conditions are right.

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      1. That is what I thought. Halfmile showed nothing, but I think Guthook did show that area. If the wind isn’t blowing over the ridge, it seemed like a good spot. It was snowing when we went through there last year.

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  2. Curious about this comment of yours… ” the halfmile app only goes one way” Is that a Fruit Company App thing?

    The Halfmile App I have on my Samsung Android shows distances both ways…north and south.

    Next time I see you, or someone with the Apple version I will have to check out what you are referencing.

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    1. Distances north and south from where you are yes it does that. Total miles no, it says you are at ‘pct mile 2456’ for example. So you have to subtract that from 2650 to find out how far you’ve gone in total.

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      1. Oh, I see what you mean. If you are wanting to count the total miles so far, well yes you would have to subtract. A new feature to ask Halfmile for. A switch to reverse the miles. 🙂

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