Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Day 22: Mile 230.1 - Mile 235.5 An unplanned Nero

It dumped last night. Buckets of rain, hail and cold wind all night, non stop. I hardly slept a wink keeping an eye on the tent and gear inside, particularly our down sleeping bags, to ensure it didn't get wet. Our tent does not handle condensation well so we ordered a liner from the manufacture to be sent to Ziggy and The Bear and boy, what perfect timing. If we wouldn't have had the liner we would have been in for a soggy night. The rain continued as sleet until about 8am when the sun finally broke thru. Josh and I, exhausted, slept in until the sun hit the tent. We packed up and found only the bottom of Josh's pack and the tent, of course, were wet. I feel more confident with the tent now and it's ability to weather a storm.

We spotted a solitary deer on our way out of camp and we watched her climb the hillside effortlessly. We didn't hit the trail until 9am or so and hiked toward the snow dusted hills at the break neck speed of one mile per hour with frequent breaks. Josh's legs were really hurting him and both of us just couldn't get our head in the game. We tried eating, drinking coffee, taking a caffeine supplement, cameling up on water, giving each other pep talks, and nothing worked. The terrain was lackluster, the trail unintuitive and the wind blew hard and cold. The high point of our hiking day was a gopher snake sunning himself across the trail which snapped us out of our zombie status for a short time.

We stopped again around mile 5 and Josh started in on his pitch.
"So, consider this," he said
"what if we camp at the next site? We DO need to dry out the tent, you are behind on your blog, (which I'm not, but ok...) and if we camp here, at lower elevation, it will be warmer than if we camp at 8k feet. This way we can go up and over the hill in one day and not have to camp in the snow!"
"Look," I said, "You do to have to convince me! I'm ready for a nap."
And it was settled. We hiked into a large hiker made trail camp with a stone fire ring and several tent sites and called it a day. We pitched the tent, did some chores and spent the rest of the afternoon cuddling, napping and eating.

While it was a wonderful afternoon I can't help but feel bad. One thing I did not expect on this hike was the sense of competition I would have. Most people we've met have started somewhere around the 13th and here we are having started on the 5th. Josh and I have this conversation daily and even though we say things like "it's not a race" or "they didn't do the walk into Idyllwild like we did, they hitched around" or "we are still ok on time, there are plenty of people who started before us who are still behind us" but it is still discouraging. I know you're not supposed to judge your insides by other peoples outsides but it's hard. We needed to Nero today, for sure but we both look at each other like, "when will the hiker legs come?!" We even skipped Kick Off to try to gain back some ground. On one hand, this is my vacation of sorts and I don't want to kill myself, I want to have fun and enjoy time with my lover, but on the other hand it is important I reach my goal!

I just have to keep going north and trust the process. My body will rise to the occasion and I'll have continuous footprints north for as far a the summer will allow. One day at a time, I'll hike my own hike...

Right now, it's 8pm and I'm completely bundled up while a freezing wind is howling. I hope the miles come easier tomorrow. We're still 30 from Big Bear and new shoes.

Until tomorrow, good night.

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