Week Three out on the PCT has proved two things – there can be lots of highs and lots of lows and sometimes all in the same day.
This week started with learning to be comfortable with having to go multiple days without having a shower. At the beginning of this week, we found ourselves hiking in the middle of a heat wave, out here in the desert. So much sweat and dirt. I’ve never been dirtier. The closest I could get to having a shower was using baby wipes to clean my feet off at the end of each night before getting into my sleeping bag. This is one reason why I will never leave town without a healthy resupply of baby wipes.
I’ve quickly come to appreciate bucket showers. Before hiking the PCT, I had no idea what a bucket shower was, let alone ever have one. I can’t express to you how amazing it feels to be able to dump a bunch of cold water over your body and wash away the dirty desert. The bucket shower I had at Mary’s Place (Mile 145.4) was just enough to hold me over for a few more days until we made it into Idyllwild and I was able to have a proper shower.
As much of an adjustment it’s been for me to get used to thru-hiking life out here in the hot desert, I’ve been able to experience many highs along the way. Here are some of my all-time favorite highs from this week:
Coming upon well-stocked water caches. Life saving!
Eating a burger and drinking bottomless root beers at Paradise Valley Cafe.
Having lunch and drinking a cold root beer while swimming in a lake, just after we had run out of water while hiking the Mountain Fire Alternate into Idyllwild.
Receiving amazing trail magic from my trail family in the form of their presence and bringing cold sodas, snacks and making us dinner after experiencing one of my toughest days on trail.
Town Days because it means I’ll get to shower, wash my clothes, resupply my food and sleep-in the next day
Going to the movies with my trail family and eating an obscene amount of buttery popcorn.
Meeting up with friends on trail for unexpected Trail Magic. Thank you Sally and David!
Watching the sunset from on top of Mount San Jacinto.
Eating Top Ramen for lunch and being excited about it.
Hiking into Cabazon just to eat lunch at In-N-Out Burger.
Resupplying at WalMart and being the person who the other shoppers take pictures of.
With the highs come a few lows. Here are some of the lows I experienced this week out on trail:
The seven mile Mountain Fire Alternate into Idyllwild. A lot of hikers hitched into town, yet Amish, Bleeder and I decided to hike it in while Punchline and KitKat hitched ahead. This section was dry, hot and not very pretty. It got especially scary when Bleeder and I both ran out of water on our walk down the forest service road towards the highway.
Heavy bag carries out of town. It’s hard to get motivated to hike out of town when your bag is loaded down with water weight and you can barely close your pack because you have so much food.
Hiking up Mount San Jacinto was hard! Elevation up there is 10,834 feet, easily the highest climb I’ve done on my own two feet. Miles and miles of up and up.
Having to hike with a huge splinter in my foot for 30 miles, from Idyllwild to Cabazon. It was quite painful.
The night we slept underneath Interstate 10 outside of Cabazon. This was my worse night of sleep on the trail thanks the constant freeway traffic driving by above, the trains going by all night long and the wind gusts banging my tent around.
With all that, we made it through Week Three in one piece and still with no major injuries. Let’s see what Week Four has in store for us.