A hard day at the office

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.
















8 thoughts on “A hard day at the office

  1. Muk Muk it might not be a cold but a touch of altitude sickness. Your symptoms are very common in the high mountains. Try to sleep as low as possible, i.e lower elevation. “climb high, sleep low”. Also try to stay hydrated and eat as much as you can, that should help too.
    Of course it could always be a cold too, and in that case there is not much you can do but get extra rest, which I know is very hard on the trail. Also, the alcohol may make you feel better but is actually very bad for you if you have altitude sickness, it thins the blood which is the last thing you want.


    • Thanks Wolfman, someone out here did mention it could be altitude. I think it may have been a combination as I was sneezing a little too. Starting to feel much better and am a lot lower so you may well be right. Sleeping on Whitney probably didn’t help!!! 🙂

  2. Just settled in with an afternoon coffee and read through the your posts. The pictures are wonderful, especially what looks like a nice afternoon nap. I’m pretty sure you’ll (both) like most of what’s in the box at Mammoth, but a few items were guesses. If you don’t like and/or want any of the items please, please, please feel free to toss ’em into the hiker box. ‘Angels provide gifts, never obligations.’

    BTW, I agree with Wolfman about avoiding alcohol if having difficulty with altitude. It also can dehydrate you.

    • Thanks Chris! I can’t think of a thing I wouldn’t like in your package! Agree with the advice on alcohol. I had one coffee with a splash of Kahlua so it shouldn’t have affected me much at all. Agree on steering clear of excess though, didn’t even take up the free beer at VVR, went for coffee instead! 🙂

  3. Hi darling, I can’t believe how small the trail is at some points, such rugged country. Great to see little Muk enjoying herself. Your determination is getting you through your bad times. Missy Higgins songs can bring up a lot of emotions. No wonder you felt home sick, maybe people sick and environment sick you can better say. You are a child from the world and emotions drift from every where. Be strong, you can do it. Little legs have to work a little harder. Love you darling, Mutti xxoo

  4. HI Rozanne,

    Sorry you are not feeling well. I can’ believe you can keep hiking. You’re amazing. However, you still look healthy and happy. The scenery is certainly different from your last post, but beautiful in its on way.


  5. Van the MAN!! My absolute favourite!! Glad he could bring you some joy and comfort, or even just distraction…. Have you got “Days Like This” on your ipod?? Without wanting to be annoying (as a non-hiker writing this from the comfort of my lounge…) it’s lyrics might just be what you need…. Mainly, because it references his Mum, and I know your mum is leading the comment comp, and that she loves you dearly. Secondly, you will have up and down days hiking, as your emotions and energy levels rise and fall… So Van has written you a perfect soundtrack!!
    “When it’s not always raining… When there’s no one complaining… When you don’t need to worry… When no one’s in a hurry…. When you don’t have no freeloaders….” Well Rozi’s Mum left a comment: There Be Days Like This!! Rozi! Van wrote it for YOU!!!!!


    • Am listening to it right now!!! Haha so perfect! It’s bringing a smile to my face already! I too am writing this from the comfort of a motel room while the weather looks terrible outside. Hitting the trail again tomorrow, will have this song handy for those ‘days’ when I need it! Thanks Tad, hope life’s treating you swimmingly in the ‘real’ world. Lots of love, Muk

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