I barely slept last night after escaping the 70mph winds on the ridge top and finding shelter with Robin and Garth. It was so windy that I had to cover my entire head with my sleeping bag, and because I jumped in fully clothed, I had to empty my pockets to sleep comfortably which meant I had my phone charger and cords, maps, wet wipes, Advil, a few loose Jolly Ranchers and my wallet floating around inside my sleeping bag too.
I woke to a beautiful sunrise and relived the previous night again with Robin and Garth, showing them the videos I took of the experience. I packed up in about 15 minutes and must finally have my systems dialled in because Robin said it was like watching a ‘how to get ready in the morning’ hiker video. They also said they’d never seen anyone get into their sleeping bag faster than I did last night.
I thought the worst of the wind was over but was bitterly disappointed as soon as I came into a clearing on the top of the mountain and got pounded again. It sucked the life out of me and I stopped to rest a few times, trying to determine if the smart thing was to go on or not. When it started to rain I knew I had to keep moving or I’d freeze.
It took me about 45 minutes to travel one mile but I was rewarded by the sight of a tent up ahead and found the Swedes (Laptop and Feather) and Lullaby, Travis and Ninja Tank all camped together. They had all experienced the insane winds yesterday but managed to bunker down early enough to stay protected overnight.
I was thankful to have hiking company but the worst was actually behind us and the 12 miles to the next water source was easy in comparison. The boys chose to rest in the sun so I carried on solo to get to the water so I could enjoy my cup of coffee for the day. Unfortunately on the way I discovered I’d lost my Caldera Cone cup and bowl, the windshield for my stove and my only spork. Thankfully I still had the soda can element and my pot but the windshield I tried to fashion out of stones didn’t work at all well and it took 3 times the fuel to even get close to boiling water!
I was also sad to discover that after lending my water filter to another hiker who thought he may have broken it, that it is totally inoperable. This means I’m carrying dead weight 135 miles and I’ll have to use the Aqua tabs I’m carrying as a backup. Thankfully Travis has lent me some bleach in case I run out of tabs in this long stretch.
Travis and I headed out from the lunch stop ahead of the pack and I chewed his ear off having not had a hiking partner for a full day. I never realised how chatty I can be after spending just a day on my own. He let me go ahead either while he took a toilet break or just to rest his ears, so I carried on at a decent pace through a long stretch of burnt out forest until my feet were too sore to continue.
After some tender love and care they were able to carry me another 3 miles to the campsite I was aiming for, 22 miles from where I stated this morning which given the conditions isn’t so bad. The whole group decided to stop here for the night and we even bumped into Birdman and Cowboy who were camping within earshot of us. I borrowed Travis’ windshield to cook my Top Ramen and his spoon to eat. I really need to sort myself out with a new windshield, bowl, cup and spoon by Kennedy Meadows! It’s an early night for me in bed by 9pm, hopefully I’ll get a better night’s sleep tonight.