PCT SOBO DAY 19 – mountains and molehills

0 miles

I didn’t sleep well last night, I was on my phone for hours yesterday and my brain was wired and overstimulated. Too buzzing to sleep. I was also going over and over the decision of what to do today. Take a full zero or go back to the trail this afternoon? 

The first thing to do was figure out my resupply. Figuring out what you want to eat and how much of it you need for the next 11 days is just something I don’t want to have to think about. I don’t want to eat anything except avocado and Fritos. This stressed me out. I wondered aimlessly down the aisles of Safeway, repeatedly coming back to the Welches fruit snacks. Can I still stand them? It’s only been a couple of weeks, I think can force them down for a bit longer. I stare at the tuna packets. I watch myself reach out and put them in the trolley. It’s like my hand is being controlled by someone else. Inside I’m screaming at them to stop but no one can hear. A map on my journey around the supermarket would be much like a map of the pct, a set of giant switchbacks with some unnecessary loops. 

I eventually came out with something vaguely resembling a resupply. I sent a package to White Pass, the next stop so I didn’t have to go through this agony in Packwood. I’ve been lucky and had some more mountain house meals donated to me so I can stay off the ramen for a bit longer! 

Glendee took me for lunch and I mulled over what to do that afternoon. I feel weird today. I feel a knot of anxiety inside me. It’s crowding my thoughts. Overtaking my rational brain. The choice is hike out this afternoon and get 10 miles in at most, maybe less. Or, hike out early the next morning. That’s what I’m getting myself worked up about. 10 miles. 

I feel like everyone is in front of me and everyone is moving faster than me. I feel like I’m one of the last southbounders, although I know there are a few people behind me I don’t think it’s many. I keep hearing from people passing me on the trail “there are like 60 southbounders in front of you.” I am worried about making it through the Sierra in time. I’m worried I’m just not going to make it. I’m worried I’m never going to build up the miles. Even my mate Catwater, who is behind me, has already done a part of Oregon so she has that in the bag. I’ve seen Instagram posts from northbounders who are doing 45 mile days!! 

I’m so behind on my blog, how am I going to catch up? It’s got to be good. If I’m going to do it I’m going to do it properly! So much worry in my small brain.  

I need someone to tell me to get a ruddy grip. So I called my parents. 

Of course I cried. Blubbed down the phone over the agonising decision of staying in a wonderful place with wonderful people eating delicious food and sleeping in a huge bed with a fluffy pillow, or going back to the trail and hiking 10 miles. Blimey – writing it down makes it sound even more ridiculous.

They told me I was ‘over tired’. I always get emotional when I’m over tired. The same thing happened last year when I got to Idyllwild. A couple of weeks on the trail and I had a mini melt down, racked with all kinds of self doubt. 

I decided to stay. Give my body and mind a rest. Stop putting so much pressure on myself. I spent all afternoon lying down. Tinkering with my blog, sending a few messages, making sure I had enough podcasts downloaded. And trying to switch my mind off for a bit. I sorted out my new shoes and inspected my battered legs. 

If I have to jump forward to the Sierra that’s what I’ll do. If I have to leave the trail to get my flight to NZ, that’s what I’ll do. If I can try and do bigger miles through Oregon and Northern California, that’s what I’ll do. 

It rained hard all afternoon and I wondered what the conditions on the trail were like. That question was answered when I got a message from Drake to say the trial was basically a massive puddle and he was pitching his tent in the rain. Well, I guess I made the right decision after all! 

I had a lovely relaxing dinner with Glendee and Doug and enjoyed a hot shower and a comfy bed as I thought about the people on the wet trail. 

Looking at the stats so far, I have waked 290 miles and I’ve climbed Everest, descended everest and I’m on my second climb. No wonder I’m tired! 

Messages and talks to various people today helped a lot. 

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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 19 – mountains and molehills

  1. We are so proud of you, Alex, and happy to have been able to give you a break and time to think and rest. When in doubt, call your mom and dad. They know you better than anyone. Just know that the people reading your blog are behind you 100% and we are pulling for you each step of the way. And like VEB47 says, breathe deep – you’ve got this!

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  2. Why the determination to complete the entire hike? You’ve already done that; thought that NZ was the core objective.

    If that’s the case, then you have the opportunity to cherry pick the best of the PCT. It seems the general consensus is that the WA Cascades and CA Sierra are the two favorite/most scenic sections.

    With respect to the Sierra, I would suggest you want to reach KM no later than the 3rd week of Oct. Early season snow storms are different than late spring storms. For one, no one is around; for two, you don’t want to be breaking trail.

    So, if you gave yourself four weeks to get from Truckee to KM, you’d want to start north of Tahoe no later than 9/21. Why not enjoy WA and northern OR, take some time to getting (via auto) to Tahoe, then boogie through the Sierra during early fall?

    Don’t know when you head to NZ, but LA is really nice in Nov. (Actually, the weather is perfect year round, but Nov/Dec are truly spectacular.)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. OK… Get a ruddy grip! 🙂

    You write: “I’ve seen Instagram posts from northbounders who are doing 45 mile days!!”

    Stop it!

    Maybe you should stay off social media when you get to wifi country.

    And, while us couch hikers enjoy following along, there is really no requirement that you keep it up. There is a gazillion blogs out there these days we can follow, if we feel the need. We can read yours from last year until you get around to writing it all later when you are done. That is perfectly acceptable.

    I am glad I did NOT put that additional pressure on myself last year. I managed the PCT without using any social media or feeling a need to write a blog, and frankly I think it is liberating.

    I preferred not knowing what others were doing, or where they were in relation to me. But then I was one of those that would NOT even look ahead to see what the elevations were for the next day, as I didn’t want to know!

    BTW, knowing where you are now, and the miles you have been making since writing this, means that your worries of being behind others really is NOT a concern. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Alex,
    This is one couch potato who is enjoying your blog, including your anxieties! So keep going and don’t worry so much.
    Just one question: why shoes instead of lightweight boots? I have trekked in Ethiopia, Nepal, Peru and China, and climbed every Munro in Scotland, i.e. in every conceivable terrain and weather, and I would never have dreamed of doing it without the protection of a decent pair of boots.

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    1. Lots of reasons. They are much lighter being the main one. Weight on your feet adds weight to your back. They dry quickly. Your ankles become stronger in shoes, boots make them lazy.

      You will see more people hiking in sandals than boots on long distance trails!

      Thanks for reading along

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      1. Alex, I’ll defer to your experience! My feeling is I would take the small weight penalty to be sure of dry feet, but that’s just me.

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