We’re currently having lunch by a waterfall which got my feet pretty wet when my short legs couldn’t quite reached the stones that propelled UB across. We had a slow morning again, my headache was back and my chest was still gurgling and I felt little motivation to get up and climb a mountain.
As we began the climb I felt like I’d smoked about 20 packets of cigarets the day before. I’m wondering in my hypochondriac ways if I’ve got a chest infection or somehow contracted pneumonia. My lungs were heaving with every step and the only distraction was having music playing in one ear to get me to the top. UB dropped his video camera so I amused myself by taking a few videos before he even noticed it was missing, and I actually made it to the top well before I expected to get there.
Then there was the way down… which I expected to be a breeze but mentally I just wasn’t in a good head space. Whether it’s due to not feeling 100% or it’s just one of those days, I really struggled with everything. The stream crossings bugged me, other hikers walking too close annoyed me, bugs flew at me, even the mountains and sky blue lakes caused me angst.
I had intended to only listen to music during the tough uphill climbs but I needed something to snap me out of this state. I listened to Missy Higgins and actually got a little teary, feeling home sick for the first time on the trail. When I say home sick I guess I mean I missed life before the trail, as home is many different places for me, just as the PCT is my home for the now.
When I caught up with UB in our current lunch spot I was relieved to stop walking and focus my attention on food and some rest. A good distraction before another 2,000+ foot climb up Mather Pass.
The 5.5 mile hike to the pass was a lot better than I had expected. It was very gradual and then steep at the end which I prefer to a constant incline. I was able to keep up with UB until the really steep section and then used some Van Morrison and a few other classics to push me up the switchbacks. I felt great at the top, but again the downhill really stumped me, especially with the sections of snow and steep downhill steps.
UB’s like a mountain goat and literally trotted down the hill with ease while I grimaced with each step. I hit a point where I was just out of energy, either from not being well or not having eaten enough. Unfortunately with UB ahead I knew I had to continue until I caught up again. Luckily he was waiting on a rock just above the huge lake we were aiming for, as I was about ready to set up camp there and then. We continued on to a spot slightly protected by the wind with a beautiful view of the palisades. We cooked, washed and got into our sleeping bags by 7:30pm. I’ll be done writing this post while it’s still light so hopefully I’ll get a nice long sleep tonight and feel better tomorrow morning.