This bus analogy was shared to me this evening by Cookie Monster after I expressed concern for being at the back of the pack. I haven’t seen him since the kick off, and back then he was 100 miles behind me. I was happy with the 10+ miles I put in today to ease back into the trail, until Cookie Monster and four other thru hikers passed by my tent. Sure I stopped early and found an awesome spot near water to camp, but it didn’t help morale one bit. There can’t be that many through hikers behind me can there? I’ve been told there’s still a few, more than I probably expect, but I’m starting to experience some back of the pack anxiety as my biggest dislike is being or feeling rush. It doesn’t sit well with me.
It also didn’t help that Cookie Monster expressed how unbelievably fantastic his trip has been so far. What trail has he been walking? I’ve been told never to believe a thru hiker that says everything is peachy all the time, but he was definitely cruising faster and further than me today so I guess I let it get to me. Today almost felt like Day 1 for me. I’ve walked 85 miles in the last 2 weeks. That’s an average of 6 miles a day. No wonder my back, legs and feet were all complaining with a seemingly heavy pack and 10 miles of uphill. I’ve had lots of great food and rest over the last few days, but my muscles feel weak, and I’m definitely not at the same level of fitness as I was before I came off trail. I don’t think it will take long to get it back, but with Washington and bad weather on the horizon I can’t help but feel a little nervous.
Chris drove me all the way back to the trail this morning while UB went back to Urgent Care for a second visit. It was sad hitting the trail solo after having such an amazing time back together again. I thought 1000 solo miles was enough… but I guess the trail isn’t finished with me yet.
I passed a couple of south bound section hikers who asked if I was going passed Russell Creek. I had no idea it was only a few miles up the trail, so when they told me you should try to cross it before 10am I asked if there was camping nearby. When I got there an hour later I realised there was no way I was going to wait until the morning and was surprised at just how high the creek actually was.
The trail climbed for the next 5 miles, and I was lucky to catch a glimpse of Mt Jefferson when the sky cleared for no more than 20 minutes. When I reached the end of the climb at close to 7000 feet, the clouds and wind rolled in and the temperature dropped considerably. This was one reason I set up camp early. The other was simply because I’d had enough for today. I hope I can push out some big miles tomorrow and feel like I’m getting back on track.