Last night was officially the coldest nights sleep I’ve had on the trail so far. Add to that some kind of chest infection, sore throat, headache and hunger pains and you’ve got yourself an incredibly bad nights sleep. I slept in what felt like 3 minute intervals until one side of my body was too sore to lie on. I’d then have to flip over, trying not to let any warm air out of the sleeping bag, causing almost suffocation in a bag that I’ve slept, sweated and farted in for two months straight. Gross.
Every time I woke up I wished it was morning. The only cure to my nightmare would be the sun, and it couldn’t come soon enough. Again as is becoming ritual, UB woke me with a warm cup of coffee, plus a cinnamon bun and oatmeal. He’d heard me coughing all night and figured I was going to need a boost to get me back on the trail this morning. Thank you UB!!
Our first challenge was the golden staircase into the valley between Mather and Muir Pass. I think we dropped about 2,000 feet in a very short distance which was painful on the cold joints and our poor knees. At the bottom we bumped into Turtle and Willow and had a quick rest in the sun, giving me time to wash my socks, drink a sachet of Emergen-C and snack on some trail mix. I’ve started to ration my food as we’re moving a lot slower than expected but UB seems to be ploughing through his so we may have an unscheduled stop in at VVR to supplement what we have left.
The valley was so beautiful, but we’ve been so spoiled for views and scenery that I barely batted an eyelid when we walked next to a huge gushing waterfall with deer frolicking in the woods a few meters from the trail. There are moments though when the trail provides a certain beauty which brings a huge smile to my face; like yesterday when the sun made one of the lakes glitter with a thousand sparkles moving across its surface; or last night when the first few stars of the night began to appear above the mountain peaks surrounding our camp site; or today when the polished surface of the mountains reflected in the sun as though they were covered in ice.
We had lunch by one of the many waterfalls we passed but still had 11 miles to hike up to Muir Pass. We knew it was going to be uphill from there with over 4,000 feet to climb. After about an hour I caught up to UB when he was getting water and discovered he was in a world of pain testing out his new non-ibuprofen diet. I was in my own world of pain with my ankles, so we rested again on a rock in the sun.
Since my feet have been feeling better, my ankles and shoulders have been playing up. My ankles hurt when I walk too fast and I spoke to UB about how we’re going to hike together without me always feeling the need to keep up with his long legs. I think because I was feeling run down and with such a lack of sleep, I was starting to question my hiking ability and whether we’d be able to keep up our partnership. By the end of the day we agreed we could still do it. Even if we hike solo for sections, we still have a similar ability for the number of miles we can make in a day.
Tonight we’re camped 3 miles from Muir Pass with Turtle and Willow. We cooked dinner in one of the prettiest settings so far by a gorgeous stream on beautiful soft green grass, surrounded by mountains. Turtle and Willow told us about their Appalachian Trail (AT) adventures last year, which sounded so different to our experience out here. They may attempt the triple crown next year by doing the Continental Divide Trail (CDT).
No cowboy camping tonight. I’m much warmer so despite still having a bad cough I hope I’ll sleep better tonight… Fingers crossed!!