First of all I have to admit an error in judgement. I was told straight up that I chose a trailhead that immediately led into a 3000 foot elevation rise. I knew that but Ego said, hey let’s go for it!
I was so pumped up I agreed with Ego, and we went for it. Katrina sent me off from Seiad Valley where I first signed the registry and had a decent breakfast. The waitress was even kind enough to wrap my extra pancake for the ride. I carried that pancake with me all day. I was also told a storm was expected and several people have hiked back out. But I don’t want to talk about that anymore.
It was slow from the get-go, because my pack weighed in at over 40 pounds from me trying to stuff a 8 days worth of food into it. That was mistake number two. I basically went from switch back to switch back feeling every muscle in my body come to life. I trained a little bit but nothing slightly compared to this ascent. It was up, up, up the mountains. Just when I thought I was reaching the top of a mountain, a bigger meaner mountian was waiting behind it. Hours went by and I stopped off and to enjoy the view, breathe the air, and acknowledge the various bugs, flowers, and the gorgeous Cedars that have been there longer than us.
By the time I reached what I thought was the final tip top of the mountain, I checked my GPS and was told it was still a half-mile away. The sun was starting to go down and I had to find camp.
Let me explain a little bit about me. I am terrified of heights. More specifically I am fearful of small walking paths with steep drops immediately next to them. I told my dad before I left that if I encounter any of those that I was going to turn around and come straight back. Well joke’s on me, that happened immediately and the entire 5 miles uphill were all those. Meaning that you can’t just stop and make camp, or even stop and sit down until you find a Switchback or a fallen log. Also if a log has fallen across the path you have to navigate over it, generally next to the what I call a cliff, with a massive backpack. That is where my cuts came from.
Moving on, by the time I got to camp I could feel the change of elevation in the temperature, and when I saw my campsite I was thrilled to finally be able to set my pack down for awhile.
The brown bear with the white fur on its back was not thrilled that I set my pack and he/she made one of those loud sounds that only a bear can make as it’s running down the hill through leaves and sticks. Fortunately he was running down away from me; I tried to snap a picture of his fuzzy butt. Someone with a good editing program can blow it up and see his butt.
I was too exhausted physically and mentally to be scared, but it certainly set the tone for the rest of the night and I was hyper-aware of every sound and armed my bear spray, hung my bear bag up as far away as I could, and talked loudly to the forest as the instructions say to do.
It was too late to cook dinner, and at this point I didn’t want food anywhere near me in case fluffy buns decided to get curious. So I grabbed a Clif Bar out of my bag and called it good. Everything else was hung.
Setting up the tent was easy, I absolutely adore it. I didn’t need to stake it down all that the wind was blowing pretty good. I was freezing and just wanted to get inside. It was then that I noticed the absolute cold, and I changed into the pants my dad insisted I buy. When I got in my bag, I knew immediately that it was too cold and I would need a better bag. I got out put all of my clothes on and took out my emergency blanket. That seemed to do the trick and I was able to make a cozy shell. The truth is, everything hurt and it was impossible to get comfortable. But I just took that as a sign that I had worked my body over, and was totally okay with that. To be expected.
It was then I realized I had to pee. Awesome timing. Oh well.
The wind and some rain started picking up and it was pretty loud, that on top of the bear anxiety I didn’t sleep at all the first night. I questioned my sanity, the entire reason I did this, and then I started doing math for the next day. The math did not come out right.
It had taken me all day to ascend 3000 feet and 5 miles, granted it was a straight incline. But now I knew how the campsites are set and you couldn’t just set camp when you got tired. The next day I would have to ascend 2000 more feet and go 15 miles before I hit the next campsite. Mathematically it wasn’t working out. I am not fit enough to do the 15 miles in one day yet especially all uphill and if I didn’t reach the camp site I would be stuck hiking in the dark.
I ended night one feeling frustrated with myself, and even wishing another human were nearby. Day one…they will get better.
Bear running away.
Nap time yet? (Walked ten feet)
Pancake and I
13 thoughts on “Day One. Day Won.”
You are inspiring me!! Go girl!! Keep on moving — every step you take gets those of us who are dreaming about it closer to making it a reality!!
Thankyou for sharing! It’s nice to read a PCT post like this. We all will have a first time, have to conquer some sort of fear. I think it is amazing that you are doing it. I hope to at least section hike it someday. But for now I will continue to hike the crap out of the PNW enjoying the beauty I am surrounded by. Happy Trails Terra! Keep on trekkin’! 👣👣👣
The toughest days make the best stories. You can be so proud of what you overcame, too. And you did it! How cool is that.
U got this Terra.
I so understand that fear of heights! And at night I get bear anxiety! So proud of you! Keep hiking and stay safe!
Nice work!!!! The fear of heights will diminish; I can testify to that! Looking forward to following along! Take care!
Ugh! Im so jealous! I live in Redding, I could be with you in 4hrs!! I wish . So very glad you made it through that storm, it was crazy here! My biggest fear is the bears, can’t believe you’re doing it all alone!! Love your writing style as well. Be blessed!!
Great writing. After this you’ll be able to conquer anything. You definitely picked a tough section to begin your journey. Oh the lessons we must reach learn.
Wow! This is great! You’ll be going through my former home town, Ashland, OR. What out for that bear. 😀
I can’t wait to read the next installment! Exciting stuff, great cliff hangers (literally)!
Hang in there! Sounds like a tough first day but look at all you’ve learned! Keep on trekking!
You are doing great valiant woman! Keep it up!
OMG i’m so proud of you! I figured your Ego underestimated this; but I’m still glad you’re doing this! I can only imagine all the sarcastic commentary during your journey! I should have gotten you a Go-Pro to Vlog! Anyway, be careful, be safe and enjoy yourself! Remember your mind is stronger than your body; so when you’re body tries to give up, tell it to get the hell back in gear! Love you!