August 1st 2018
Peru Peak Shelter – Clarendon Shelter (mile 1685.2)
23.3 miles
Total miles: 1706.8


When I woke up I didn’t feel great. Jukebox said she heard me moving around ‘all’ night. She probably didn’t hear me all night but it probably felt like that to her. I don’t remember waking up a lot but I definitely didn’t feel rested. I think the problem was that I had too much air in my mat and it was a bit too hard. 

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We packed up leisurely and I even had to use the privy this morning, breaking my 48 hour routine my body seems to have adopted recently. We hiked out at 7:30am as a group and Jukebox and Shred quickly pulled away. I was just hiking my usual pace this morning but there was no way I could keep up with them. The unusual thing was that Peaches, who is normally super fast too, was struggling behind me and happy to stay behind. 

The terrain wasn’t difficult, just the usual rocks and roots to avoid and only a tiny bit of mud. There were long stretches of boardwalk which was easy to walk on. We got to the first shelter about 4 miles into the day and stopped to take a little break. I ate some crisps and hummus. A great decision to bring hummus on the trail. Peaches stayed to filter water and I carried on. 

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I hiked by myself for the rest of the morning and I listened to a bunch of podcasts, catching up because I’d not listened to any for a few days. The time went quickly even though after the shelter was a steady climb up for the next 7 miles. I passed a few southbounders, found some lovely clear cold water, took my time looking a mushrooms on the side of the trail and when I’d hiked 10 miles I found I was keeping a 2.5 mile an hour pace which I was really happy with. 

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At the top of the climb there are some ‘rock gardens’. I don’t like theses things. There are rocks that people have piled into stacks. What’s the point? They get removed, because they aren’t within the definition of leave no trace, but people come along and build them back up again. 

Just after the last one of these I came across Jukebox and Shred who I hadn’t seen since they took off this morning. I joined them and ate a bit of lunch. Some more crisps and hummus. I found out that Jukebox had taken a fall and had landed hard on her knee. She had also walked into a branch and bashed her head. She was not having a good day and she was supposed to be celebrating her day 100 on the trail! 

While we were sat there the light drizzle became heavier rain and we moved on. Shred and I hiked together but we lost Jukebox pretty quickly as she was hobbling along with her sore knee. I had the brolly up and we had a bit of a downhill to the road before the trail went right back up again. It was a fairly intense downhill and doing it with a sore knee must suck. 

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I was feeling pretty good and when we got to the bottom Shred decided to wait and check to see if Jukebox was ok and I carried on up the hill. By this time it was really raining hard and the mosquitoes had made a reappearance. Not even the rain stops them. There were hundreds of little orange dudes on the trail. The newt / salamander / lizard things. I love the colour of them and I stopped to take photos and videos and I must have been bitten at least 5 time in the two seconds I was stood still. 

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It was still raining hard and I was pushing on. Shred caught up to me and we hiked the rest of the way together. I was out in front for a change and I was keeping a good pace despite how slippery the trail had become in the rail. The rocks were slippy. The tree roots were slippy. The mud was slippy. The mud was the worst. You step in a patch and it’s deeper than you think and your foot travels 3 feet by sliding along. 

We came to a flattish bit where it was all overgrown with plants and I felt something sting my finger. Must have been a stinging nettle. Then Shred slips, and I turn around to see if he’s ok and I slip. My foot gets stopped by a rock and my body gets propelled forwards. My shin breaks my fall on the rock and then I land with my hand in a patch of stinging nettles. My thigh and my shin get stung too and I’m not sure whether it’s stinging or it’s super itchy! I would trip and slip a whole bunch more throughout the afternoon but this was the worst one. 

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We had a really intense downhill to a road and railway crossing in a gorge. About half way down it stopped raining enough to take the umbrella down, I had been able to get through most of the trail without a problem, just a couple of trees that I was too wide to pass through. We passed a few more southbounders and just as we were really getting over the downhill we finally got to the bottom. 

By this time I needed a wee. I was thirsty and I was starving. We took a little break at the road and I ate a peanut butter tortilla and some snacks in preparation for this last climb of the day. We only had 1.1 miles left to the end of the day shelter but two thirds of it was a was a straight up rock scramble. 

It was 5:30pm when we crossed the road and the railway tracks and we gave ourselves an hour to  get to the shelter. We didn’t know how bad the rocks were going to be, especially now they are wet and slippy. 

It was fine. It wasn’t really a rock scramble. It was more just giant steps up big boulders. I took my time and took some photos and videos along the way. I was very focussed on the ground so I jumped out of my skin when someone above me yelled about having lost her shoe. No I hadn’t seen it but good luck in your search. Near the top of the rocks I saw Shred chatting to three southbound girls. We stopped and chatted with them for ages. Enough time for Peaches to catch up after not seeing her all day since the shelter. It turns out she took a nap there. 

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After all that chatting we eventually rolled into the shelter at 6:25pm. Still within our hour estimate. It was nice to be at camp reasonably early for once! I even used this opportunity to have a little wash in the river and wash all that mud off me which had all been swirled around in the rain. I even rinsed out my socks. They were wet anyway from the rain so I tried to get some of the build up of mud out. 

Someone at the shelter had made a fire which was great. We sat around the fire for dinner and I finished off the hummus. There were lots of other people there, at least 5 other thru hikers, none of whom we had met before, and some long trailers. The woman who lost her shoe (which she found) was a little intense but she did end up sharing her deli sandwich with us, which was nice. 

We chatted with everyone until it was getting dark and being horizontal was much more desirable than standing up. It’s warm and the creek is providing a nice white noise which hopefully will help me sleep. 


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 85

 

 


 

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