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PCT Day 40

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Miles : 0 Photo : Cottonwood Pass I took a zero in Lone Pine today to rest my Achilles enough for the next stretch. The following 65 miles of hiking include summiting Mt. Whitney, Forester Pass, and Kearsarge Pass. All amazing milestones that looked extremely daunting to me a few days ago, but by tomorrow I should be ready! In the middle of all my lounging around, I had a telehealth call with @blazephysio so I could learn more about the pain in my Achilles tendon. Apparently the Achilles tendon is much thicker than the post-tib meaning that I’m unlikely to run into any trail ending issues. That was pretty relieving to hear. Now I’m well equipped with knowledge on how to strengthen my feet, and reduce the load on the tendon so that I will be able to keep trekking on!

PCT Day 39

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Non-PCT Miles : 3.7 Photo : Descending into Lone Pine Made it to Lone Pine! It’s a small accomplishment for most, but for me, it's a large one. A few days ago I was feeling quite nervous about hiking again after being away for so long so I’m pretty happy that I made it 45 miles up the trail. Just taking it one town at a time!  Last night we all camped at a junction where the PCT splits from Cottonwood Pass. I took the pass down to a camper’s parking lot to try and get a hitch into Lone Pine while the rest of the crew stayed on the PCT. It was sad to leave the new friends I made behind, but I needed the rest and a few more days of resupply. We said our goodbyes and hoped we’d all cross paths again down the trail. The comments I read on FarOut made it seem like getting a ride into town was a little tricky. Some people mentioned they had to wait up to 4 hours to get a hitch. Luckily for me, the first person I threw my thumb out to gave me a ride! He was camping up in the mountains to

PCT Day 38

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Miles : 730.8 - 745.3 Photo : Breaktime Views Today was essentially the same as yesterday. Same elevation gain/loss, distance, and difficulty. Pretty brutal honesty. I had a particularly hard day since the Achilles tendon on my right foot was causing me a lot of pain. Hoping it goes away after a day or two of rest in town. The main highlights were the amazing views, good company, and gathering water in the middle of the beautiful unnamed meadow. Each time we had to get water, there was a considerable walk down and up to the source. We’re all looking forward to being able to easily get water right off trail starting in the next couple of days.

PCT Day 37

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Miles : 716.5 - 730.8 Photo : Serendipity after the climb Much harder day than yesterday. The first 9 miles were a long and steep climb up to Olancha Peak.  During the climb, we took many breaks just like yesterday. The change in altitude is no joke as we’re all still getting acclimatized.  We eventually made it to the top though and were excited for a nice view on top of the mountain. The trail at the peak didn’t have a view as we were still in a forest, so feral_mike and dabenor went scouting for a good viewpoint and luckily found one! Such an amazing reward for the difficult day of hiking.  After that, we slogged it down to the campsite to have a fairly late dinner, all while sharing hilarious stories. The second day in the Sierras was a success!

PCT Day 36

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Miles : 702.2 - 716.5 Photo : Excited for the Sierras Today was easily one of my favorite days on trail! The day started with sleeping in at Kennedy Meadows and getting a very filling breakfast of pancakes, eggs, hashbrowns, and bacon at the general store. I met mleseitz and  feral_mike who were also planning to hike today. They also had the same goal of going slow and steady so we grouped together and went back to the PCT around 10 AM.! Shortly into the hike, we ran into up dabenor who had just gotten back on trail. He had the same mindset as us so he joined the crew!  It was the first day on trail where I hiked with a group the entire day and it was amazing! Usually, when I hike with other people, we tend to split up during the day because of different paces and then meet at various spots down the trail. We all bonded over working in tech before heading out here, our love for electronic music and concerts, strange stories, and our favorite video games, board games, books, podcasts, a

PCT Day 35

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Miles : 0 Photos : Dad dropping me off at Kennedy Meadows + Optimism in Kennedy Meadows Finally back on the PCT! During my last update, I thought I would only be out a week, but one turned into two, then three, and finally…four. I skipped ahead to the Sierra Nevadas, shaving off 330 miles of the desert section. If the rest of the hike goes well, I plan to do those miles southbound sometime in October. During my time away I was able to get an appointment with a podiatrist. One of the best near my Dad’s home! The diagnosis was post-tib tendonitis. The fix was to rest, ramp up my mileage slowly once I get back on trail, and get a pair of custom insoles. They gave the analogy of my tendons being like a rubber band. You can only stretch a rubber band so far before it loses its elasticity, or worse it breaks! When I did my two ambitious 27-mile days I definitely overworked my feet, stretching the rubber band too far. I’m making sure that this time I don’t do anything like that again.  My fir

PCT Day 34

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Miles : 0   Photo : Peacing out for a little while   I thought that after two zero days I’d feel confident enough to continue hiking but this morning my feet said “we’re still not ready!”. I decided that instead of spending more zero days in Wrightwood that I’d call in the support and have my Dad pick me up and take me off trail once again.    Doing two 27+ mile days nearly back to back was a huge mistake in retrospect. I should’ve just stuck to my goal of doing 16-20 mile days. It was working out so well for me! I’m just gonna take this as another difficult lesson to not test the limits of my body in such a haphazard way. Think like the tortoise, not the hare.    Gonna rest up for a few days now. Hopefully see a podiatrist, in an attempt to get some custom insoles. Thinking I’ll get back on trail next weekend (or slightly before). Not sure if I’ll go back to where I left off, skip ahead just a little bit, or go straight to the Sierras. I’d of course do an y miles I missed later in the

PCT Day 33

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Miles : 0   Photo : Walking Down From Wrightwood I tried walking this morning and my feet still felt a bit funky so I thought another zero would be a good idea. My mind wants to keep going on to crank out big miles, but I need to listen to what my body tells me. I also figured the next town that will be worthwhile to zero in won’t be until Tehachapi (200 miles from here) so I might as well take advantage of the good rest now while I can. It wasn’t another day of just kicking up my feet and resting. I tried to be a bit more active, alive, and present. First was a gear shakedown with a group of friends I had met briefly back at the I-10 near Cabazon (Spider-Man, Ryan, and Kitchen Sink). For those who don’t know, a gear shakedown is going through your entire backpack to evaluate every p iece of gear within it to see if you can justify why you carry it. If it’s not needed, it’s thrown away, given away, or shipped away. The shakedown was for the appropriately named Kitchen Sink. It was us j

PCT Day 32

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Miles : 0 Photo : Reflecting on a bridge Since yesterday was a large day for me I decided another zero was needed. I will save 27+ mile days for later in the hike going forward. I also felt like I needed a day where I didn’t almost absolutely nothing. Usually, a zero also means I’m doing chores around town and preparing stuff for the next stretch. Since I did all of the busywork two days ago, it meant today was just about doing nothing. It's what I’ve been wanting since Big Bear so I’m glad it finally happened. When I got back on trail at the beginning of the month, I was kinda trying to get rid of my trail name “Captain Leisure”. I didn't think it truly reflected who I was and what I did on trail. I got it during day 3 of my hike when Shakespeare said it on a whim, and I accepted it. Since then, I didn’t have a good reason to believe that I was the captain of leisure. The justification just wasn’t there.  I reflected on all of this yesterday during my hike and I ended up reinv

PCT Day 31

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Miles : 369.3 - 341.9 (SOBO) Photo : Tracks Before Cajon Pass Woke up, feet felt okay to hike, so I decided today was the day to go all the way from Wrightwood back to Cajon Pass. I slackpacked it down the mountain which made for 11.5 hours of leisurely hiking. I turned the brutal sun-exposed, 7,000 ft elevation gain, 17.4 mile water carry hike into a walk in the park. My best routing on trail yet! During my descent, I got to see all the friends I’ve met over the last week who were either slightly ahead of me, or slightly behind me. It was fun seeing everyone’s reaction to what I was doing. It ranged from happiness to friendly envy, to just pure amazement. I knew I had something special going on when people were telling me things like “enjoy your walk” (instead of hike), “wooooooow!”, and “fuck you, you smart bastard” . Made me feel like I was legitimately cheating on the trail, but hey hike your own hike ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I ended the day again with the celebratory McDonald’s. Didn’t hit nearl

PCT Day 30

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Miles : 0 Photo : Escaping the Piping Hot Sun Decided to take a zero today to avoid the risk of an overuse injury. I realized that I overdid it a little bit yesterday and my body told me to rest so I did. I checked out at the last minute at my hotel and skipped ahead by getting a ride up to Wrightwood, the next trail town I was going to run into in another 1.5 days or so. I rested for a few hours, did the usual town errands to get them out of the way, and then continued to relax. The difficult part about getting from Cajon Pass to Wrightwood is that it is all uphill, in the heat, with a long water carry to boot. My thought was why not take a zero (or two) now, then slackpack it down the mountain back into Cajon when I’m feeling ready to hike again. Avoiding the difficult uphill battle while also carrying only food, water, and the essentials. I’ll take all the easy miles I can get so I think it's going to be the right move for me. We’ll see when I get out there again!

PCT Day 29

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Miles : 314.6 - 341.9 Photos : PCT x McDonalds Sign + Certified Hiker Trash What a crazy day! I woke up intending to just do a decent amount of hiking and then camping a few miles before the famous Cajon Pass which has a McDonald’s right off-trail. Once I got the first water source of the day I realized that I could challenge myself to get to the McDonald’s today and have it for dinner tonight. Since I had one of the latest starts I’ve had while on the trail (7:45 AM) and compounded with the fact that the McDonald’s closes at 8:00 PM, it meant that I would need to hike 27.3 miles in less than 12 hours. My feet felt up to it, I was determined, so I went for it!  It was easily one of the hardest days on trail. Since I had a late start and took two significant breaks (2 hours at Silverwood Lake, and another hour or so at Cleghorn Picnic Area up the trail), it meant that I had to keep an extremely fast pace all day. I don’t usually keep track of my pace, but today felt special so I recorde

PCT Day 28

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Miles : 293.2 - 314.6 Photo : Posted Up at Deep Creek Hot Springs Once again a great day for hiking. No long water carries, the sun wasn’t exceedingly hot, and the terrain was fairly mellow. The miles came easy. There were two main goals today; keep up a good enough pace to have enough time to relax at the hot springs, and afterward make it in time to order pizza at the Joshua Tree Inn. Thankfully I was able to accomplish both!  The hot springs were of course the main highlight of the day. It was extremely refreshing to go for a swim in the cooler river water, and then shock my nervous system by jumping directly into the (VERY HOT) hot spring. My feet and legs gave me a “thank you” for doing so. There was something unique about this hot spring though. The marker on the map had a warning sign ⚠️ for it, which was a bit odd…but it makes sense in retrospect. The reason they give a “warning” for this stop is due to the hot springs area is “clothing optional”. I’ve never been to anything li

PCT Day 27

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Miles :  277.7 - 293.2 Photo : Strolling Down the Mountain I am again surprised by how many miles I’m doing right now. I only hiked 7 hours, with breaks included, and I was still able to crank out 18 miles. Very proud of myself right now. The morning was really relaxing. Both Tiana and Stacy made me a great breakfast of English muffins, eggs, and bacon. Having a stomach full of good food probably contributed a lot to my successful day today. We took the scenic route around Big Bear Lake to get back to the trailhead where I had left off yesterday. We said our goodbyes and I was off. I had no idea I was the first hiker they ever housed until yesterday (I thought I was the second). I am so happy they decided to take a leap of faith and take me in. Taking it easy the last two days was much needed after that horrid desert section after the I-10. Thank you again, Tiana and Stacy!! It’s weird how quickly my mind has stopped worrying about my foot problem (it’s still slight there though) and s