Ebbetts pass – tent site
20.4 miles. 4540ft up. 4412ft down.
I set my alarm for 7am. Fancypants was coming at 8 so no need to get up before that. When I looked out my tent Catwater had packed up and gone. After delaying Fancypants to Sunday morning instead of Saturday evening because she wasn’t sure she could make the miles, and after her saying she would wait with me, I felt a mix of disappointment and annoyance. Mostly because I think if it had been the other way around I would have waited for her.
But I knew what she was thinking. She was thinking I was a strong enough hiker to catch up, and she was thinking she isn’t quick enough to make up the miles and if I didn’t catch her at tonight’s camp I would catch her at Sonora Pass tomorrow.
I was stewing over it when another hiker came by, one I hadn’t expected to see again and he told me he was behind because he was ‘pink blazing’, which basically means chasing a girl. He told me they had ‘stayed up all night’. Now I may be making assumptions, and I may be adding 2 and 2 together and making 5, but I felt he was alluding to more than talking, if you catch my drift. This girl has a boyfriend, and where it is in no way my place to judge it made me think about that trust thing a little harder.
Trust people until they give you a reason not to. That’s what they say. But, I don’t believe that, I believe trust has to be earned. Trust is such a delicate thing. It takes a long time to be built up and it takes only seconds to break.
I tried to put it all out my head and have that ‘it doesn’t matter’ attitude and let it go. I packed up my stuff and went to sit by the road to wait for Fancypants. As I was waiting I suddenly though ‘what if he doesn’t turn up?’. I have put a lot of trust into someone I don’t actually know that well. If he doesn’t come I will be left here with no food, no friends and very limited options. But of course he is a good guy and he arrived at 8am on the dot. I had a sudden panic that I wouldn’t recognise him but thankfully he had only trimmed his beard and not gotten rid of it completely. I went in for a hug and it was nice to have some human contact. I met his girlfriend who is a therapist – she would have a field day with me!
He gave me my resupply box, my package from Sweaty Betty containing my long legs and my avocados, string cheese and Fritos that he kindly bought for me. And then he says ‘so do you want bacon and eggs’, I didn’t have to say anything, he could tell the answer by the way my face lit up. He got out his table and stove and set to work. He produced a Sprite and orange juice – my absolute favourite drinks – and presented me with hot bacon and eggs. This was awesome. He knows exactly what a hiker needs! He is really tall and I am standing on my tip toes!
We had a good chat and all too soon it was time for me to get hiking. I needed to try and make 23 miles today to catch up with Catwater. I made it about half a mile down the trail before I had to stop and sort myself out. The increased weight of my pack was a bit of a shock to the system and it had warmed up now I was out of our windy spot next to the road. I delayered, changed out of my new jazzy long legs, and set about trying to make the miles.
By the time I had really got going it was 10am. I plugged myself in to my audiobook and decided to just keep walking straight through without stopping, other than to wee or get water. I saw a couple of section hikers early on but I didn’t see anyone after that.
There were quite a lot of uphill sections today and they were a struggle. I felt like my pack was pulling me back and with the increased weight the hip belt had slipped down even further and most of the weight was being carried on my shoulders. It was pretty uncomfortable and the progress was slow. The surroundings were beautiful and the sky was clear, it was the warmest it had been for days and I hiked in just my basic clothes for the whole day. I decided I would hike until 7, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t make 22 miles but I would give it a go.
I made 10 miles in 4 hours, so at 2pm I treated myself to a little break and ate some cheese crackers. I had been thinking about trust for a lot of the morning, and I took a look at myself. I wondered if I had ‘abuse my trust‘ written on me somewhere. I’m feeling a bit jaded today.
I have also decided that because I haven’t eaten avocados for a while, but the wind has been almost intolerable, it must be the cliff bars. I have upped my consumption of them to 2 a day and since then my insides have been working overtime. I also needed to take my pack off for a moment, it was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. I decided to try putting my therm-a-rest pad behind the waist belt again like I did in Washington for a bit.
It worked for a little while, but eventually that became really uncomfortable too. I was getting pains on my hips where the end of the pad was and the pack now wasn’t sitting properly on my back. I decided to move the pad to the front of my hip belt. I couldn’t get it to sit flat so I had it all scrunched up. It worked for now.
The uphills seemed much steeper than what we have been used to and the only way I could get up them was with tiny short quick steps. No matter what I was doing, uphill / downhill / flat, I was out of breath. I just carried on. Just keep moving forwards, that’s all I could do.
The weight of my pack made me unsteady and even the downhill became a bit of a struggle. I realised I wasn’t going to make the 22 miles unless I walked a bit in the dark, and as the day wore on I became unsure whether Catwater would even be there and thought she may carry on and go further. So when I had done 20 miles and it was 6:40 and there was a nice flat looking camp spot, I decided to call it a day. It wasn’t cold but as soon as I stopped I got cold. The foam pad makes me sweaty underneath and my damp top didn’t help with the cold.
As I was setting up my tent I could see the sunset turning the mountains red and by 7:10 I was having to eat my dinner with my head torch on. I couldn’t be bothered with cooking so I had avocado, string cheese and chilli cheese Frito wraps. The love for these foods is going to wear off soon I’m sure.
I don’t think it will be super cold tonight, but I am getting into the habit of protecting my water filter for when it does. Filters shouldn’t be frozen because they stop working, so I cover mine with a ziplock and then a sock to keep it warm and cosy.
I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Donate here.