The Gratitude Cafe Part 7

DAY 63 - Donner Pass to campsite 2527.36 km

Something more than everything 

Wow. Today was everything I could have wished for and more. Never in my entire PCT adventure did I expect what today gave me. It gave me heart. It gave me hope. And it gave me life. 

The snow. Maybe this is what I needed to refresh. As much as the rain and snow storms that attacked this area of the PCT, were a downfall for us thru-hikes, maybe it happened for a reason. Majority of us SOBO's have passed the half way point, and things start to become even more difficult now; the beginnings of the High Sierras. Monotony can start to set in when the terrain is the same constant obstacle, over and over again. The rocks, the dirt, the uphill, the downhill. Lather, rinse, repeat. It's only human to feel a little fed up and tired of the same old thing. 

But something like the snow can reset the headspace and mental game that the PCT is. 

My mileage was a little lower today. A late start back to the PCT trailhead, made for approximately 3-4 hours of missed hiking. That's roughly 19 kms missed. And then to add to that, trudging through snow definitely slows your average miles down! I feel sorry for all of those NOBOs who were thigh deep in snow through the Sierras this year! No wonder they were only able to do a few miles a day!!

I was like a child again, walking in my winter wonderland. Every corner I turned, there was something even more beautiful! I was astounded that I could be in 45 degree Celsius heat last week, to now be trekking on and surrounded by snow covered hills. This country is so magnificent and keeps delivering even more natural beauty with each day. 

But of course, I've now become accustomed to the fact that tomorrow will probably be a really boring, crappy, uneventful 48km. So I take each day as it comes. 

The day was still freezing cold with negative temperatures. I'm now getting into a more constant high elevation and can definitely feel the difference in the air and environment. It's funny how quickly things can change just by walking uphill a couple of hundred feet. 

Every mountain in the distance has been sprinkled with snow and the landscape is becoming scenic again. It's the first time in a while that the mountains actually take my breath away. 

On the other hand, hiking on snow for an entire day is definitely difficult. It is like walking on sand for 12 hours, up and down hill. The legs start to tire after a certain amount of time and you need to take a quick power break. 

The other thing to face is the quick snow melt off. Snow + sun = mud. 

The terrain starts to turn mushy and muddy and becomes quite difficult to avoid wet shoes and feet. Wet feet means cold!! It's so hard to keep feet warm out here! I struggle badly. I'm currently typing this on my iPhone in my sleeping bag, with triple socks and they still feel like they will snap off!

Coming around the final corner for the day, at one of my highest elevations to date (9,100 feet), I was gobsmacked. It was heaven. Nothing can describe what I saw, so here's a picture. 

The magic of mountains. Mountains will move you. They will change you and make you someone you never knew. They are powerful beings. It's true, they don't do much. But when we are building skyscrapers tall enough to reach the clouds and elevators to get us there, walking for hours on end to reach a higher point than an elevator can take me and to receive an even more beautiful view than buildings and skyscrapers, it's worth every moment. You can't replicate that feeling. You can't buy it in a pill. You can't drink it. You can't smoke it. You can't pretend it either. It's something you'll never know until you actually do it. 

- Gx

DAY 64 - campsite 2527.36km to Sherald Lake campsite 

I awoke to frozen shoes, frozen socks, frozen gaiters and a frozen tent. Yep. Last night was freezing cold! My toes were frigid to the point where I put 3 pairs of socks on! I had a moment feeling as though I was Stuart Diver in the Thredbo disaster and I would wake in the morning to black frozen toes. Tonight, I have 4 pairs of socks on...

As much as the weather is supposedly warming up again, it sure isn't happening within my vacinity! It was magnificent to have blue skies all day and continuous sunshine, but it doesn't take away the chill factor. Wind breaker, fleece jacket and thermal was the main attraction of the day. 

Unfortunately, like I said in the previous post, today turned out to be no where near as beautiful and thrilling as yesterday. If anything, today was so difficult. So much elevation. So many uphill climbs. It was endless. 

The snow continued at my feet for majority of today's hike, with me following this family of bears footprints for a sugnificant amount of the day. It's true. I'm in bear country! 

Lots of beautiful ridges meant snow pack to cross! These can be pretty dangerous, especially if the snow is melting off. It became apparent at this point, that big miles and snow, do not mix. Unlike wearing crampons, snow like this doesn't work under those conditions. The snow has to be more compact in order to actually grip. So none of that gear is necessary. But it doesn't mean it's easier. If anything, you need to be more careful, as the more footprints, than more it turns to ice!

It was so stunning to see the ridges of where I was about to walk, and how enveloped they were by the mountains surrounding. I like seeing where the trail is going; however, sometimes when I can see the trail heading uphill to the gods, I'd like to turn around and go northbound instead!! Ha!

For some reason, today was tough. It seemed like I was continually climbing and everytime I looked at my map, it felt as if I was making little to no progress. It's a sudden reality that entering the Sierras is a rough terrain and will decrease the mileage - something I don't want at this point. I have hit the Sierras, but not the High Sierras yet! I have to keep moving fast in order to safely enter and exit the High Sierras in good weather. I should be storming this section. Instead, I'm dodging snow pack and climbing for hours on end! 

The views are definitely magnificent though! Nothing can take that away. Edging towards camp was hard. It seemed forever and a day away, and the evenings are getting ridiculously cold before dark. Sunset is happening around 6.30, but the temperatures start to drop around 5:30. 

I'd made it to my campsite just before sunset. It was freezing cold and surrounded with snow, but there was nothing I could do. I immediately chucked on every bit of clothing in my pack (which isn't much - I actually have not delved into what clothing I'm carrying! I have one shirt, one pair of shorts, a merino thermal top, merino thermal leggings, 2 pairs of hiking socks, 2 pairs of bed socks, a down jacket, rain jacket and rain pants. I've added a fleece and extra warm pants 2 days ago. THAT IS ALL THE CLOTHING I HAVE!). I looked up to see why the air was frigid... 

Of course. I'm camping at the base of a snow mountain. Not a bad view!! But bloody cold! Excuse me whilst I wrap and cocoon myself in my sleeping bag. 

- Gx

DAY 64 - Sherald lake to Carson River

Today was something akin to awful. In the physical sense. When you see these pictures, you'll think I'm a complete troll because the surroundings were the most beautiful thing ever, yet I was in a world of distraught today. It was just rotten. 

Why, you ask? A combination of melting snow, mud and uphill. It couldn't get any worse. I should be averaging my usual 30 miles a day over 10-12 hours. No. Today was 25 miles just within 12 hours! Utterly ridiculous!! 

I'm trudging 75% of the day through snow and 25% mud. Wet, gross and slippery mud! The snow melt is at a dangerous level where the footprints of other hikers, have turned to ice. Stepping on them could see you go ass over head if you aren't careful. 

There are sections of the trail that are still heavily covered in snow. Almost 30cm deep, which really takes effort. Then there's the combination of wet snow, ice and mud WHILST going uphill. Here's a little taste test:

Get on the stair master at the gym, put 10Kg weights on both ankles, then stay on the machine (with it turned on) for 12 freaking hours!!! That's what this feels like. Your legs burn with heaviness because you are utilising every bit of energy to actually get through. My average of 3.5 miles an hour is down to nearly 2-2.5 miles! It's absurd and highly frustrating. The day just kept going!!

But of course, views! They are beyond amazing, but yet today, I couldn't give a rats. I was snapping photos, but the fatigue of this day was getting to me. 

It hit around 2pm and I was done! I was so fed up. I was over the PCT. I thought to myself 'I don't need to do this anymore.' I seriously considered my 'Get out of jail free' card. I even contemplated and looked at my phone for cell reception to call my mum and dad, and ask them to convince me to stay. 

This was the first time on trail I actually contemplated 'The End'. Walking for hours on end, dodging mud and snow, leaping side to side along the trail, almost crawling up hill at a snails pace, slipping and sliding off ridges because of the mud pack. I just wanted out. 

Then I thought to myself 'No. You are Gretel. You can do anything you set your mind to. This is just a moment. A crappy one, but it's a challenge and I accepted. Now suck it up and hike on.'

So I did. 

I didn't call my parents. I didn't message anyone for reassurance. I just dealt with it and pushed on. This snow is going to be a nasty process to deal with. It's going to be days of muddy, slippery, dangerous trails, but I just need to be careful and take my time. 

The 25 miles today was hard and it worries me for each day to come entering the Sierras. I'm trying to be kind to myself, but today really felt like I was pushing beyond my limits. But I can't really do any less to keep in good time frame. It's a hard situation to be up against. 

Either way, nothing gets done without rest. I'm exhausted and fatigued. So bed time it is. And just so you know I wasn't kidding about the mud... 

- Gx

DAY 65 - Carson river to Kennedy Canyon creek

This is as good as it gets

Today was a stairway to heaven, via hell. The melt off snow is horrendous. It was roughly a 90% snow day and I faced every one of my fears. 

It started out ok. I set off at 6.30am. Tripsy accidentally slept in, so was going to catch up. It was a 4 mile (6.4km) climb uphill... all snow. No, I take that back. ICE! The snow melt and people's footprints turn the snow to ice. It's like an ice rink. On ridges and rocks. I can't begin to tell you how fearful I am of this!! I was slipping and sliding all over the place, trying to avoid broken knees and twisted ankles. It was exhausting and taking every bit of energy out of me. 

Mind you, it was only 7:30am! My legs were burning, my breathing was short, I was trying to slow my pace, but the incline with ice cover took so much concentration. 

I then crossed a river. Well, no. I didn't cross. I slipped on a rock and fell in. Then my water bottle fell out of my side pocket and started to float down the river. I tried to catch it with my poles, but it wasn't working. I was mid stream, mid calf freezing water and now with no hope of a dry shoe! 

After a scramble at the river, I got my bottle back and cursed all sorts of things. I hiked a bit further. Uphill. Slipping over. Absolutely fatiguing myself. I was close to the top when I realised I could not feel my toes. They were frozen! I then proceeded to chuck a tantrum and throw my poles to the ground and break down. 

My first official PCT breakdown. I was over it. I seriously had had enough. It's not easy going uphill 20,000 times a day, carrying your life, water, slipping over on rocks and ice, having to step carefully on things so you don't slip! Everything takes so much effort and it's exhausting. I was exhausted. I just want an easy day, but this never happens. I just want a day where I can actually GENUINELY enjoy every single moment. But I know, not everything is meant to be enjoyed all the time!

The thing that frustrates me is that I'm constantly telling myself to find the joy, but yet I'm never finding it in these moments of exhaustion. Which is a lot of the days! I am tired of having to hit certain miles everyday! It's stressful. I just want to walk and then camp. Walk and then camp. Instead, I'm trekking like a maniac to make up for mileage averages. And today was the icing on the cake. Look at this... 

It's freaking beautiful! But I almost died trekking it. There's no trail. Nothing. Just steps from other people that had either turned to ice, slush or I was having to make my own steps in 3 feet of snow, on ridges. My average of 3-3.5 miles an hour decreased to roughly 1 mile an hour. So when it came to 5pm, I'm trekking like a lunatic to the next campsite through absolute fatigue. I was over it! I AM over it. 

The views are excruciatingly amazing when the snow pours on this area. And they were breath taking. But I just wasn't feeling the true vastness of this. It's a reason I enjoy hiking alone. I don't feel rushed. I don't feel like I constantly need to push on. I don't feel like my decisions are bad ones, because they are my decisions. I don't feel like I have to keep pace with someone. I don't feel like when someone says let's do 30 miles tomorrow, that I HAVE to do 30 miles tomorrow. I like to listen to my body and unfortunately, I'm not doing that. And it's hard because through this shit, you actually need another person for safety. 

I really needed my hiking partner today. It was the first time out here, that I genuinely felt unsafe. Tripsy was a god send to me. I am eternally grateful to have had her throughout all this snow. We both felt significantly under equipped for this unexpected snow. Walking through all of this alone would've been a nightmare and I am glad to have each other for support. 

It was one of those days where everything was a mess. We were both exhausted from the epic and craziness that was involved in all of this. The entire day, we didn't pass any Nobos or SOBO's throughout this. We were alone out there and finding our way over NO visible trail. It was all snow pack. Guessing the trail from a couple of peoples foot prints. Some were going all over the place! It was one of those days where you couldn't wait for the end. At times, we just sat and pondered what in gods name we were doing. It was truly gnarly.

It really was the most incredible of scenery on the PCT so far, and as I conquered each section, I had to take a photo to basque in the fact that I JUST DID THAT!! I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I would ever blindly trek my way over snow and mountains. I know, mum and Dad will be freaking out reading this. I know they were both very well aware of what I was in for. However, to this extent?! I'm not sure. 

Seriously though, on this stuff, it's all about one step at a time. 'Every step counts' Tripsy kept reminding us both. And she was right. Getting grip on every step of snow is most important. Making sure you have solid grip at all times. 

It was no where near a high mileage day. I think something like 19 miles was all we did. Tripsy was a little disappointed in that. I had to remind her though that we trekked 90% of the day on snow. That's fatigue. Also, 80% of it was uphill. We also didn't have a clear trail, so that took time to navigate. We were also the ONLY people out there. And we are also female. I think we did pretty ok. Again, this whole "SOBO need to make miles" thing, is playing on all of us. I'm over it. 

I have decided to not care about the miles. If I don't make it through the Sierras, then who cares! I'll come back next year. I am tired of feeling fatigued and worried all the time. I must put me first. Be kind to myself. 

- Gx

DAY 66 - Kennedy Canyon Creek to Stubblefield Cyn Creek

Trying to keep my head above

A new day. A new hike. Well, not really. It's still the PCT. There wasn't much "pretty" about today's trek. I hardly took a photo. I was trying so hard to get out of yesterday's slump, and I did get out of it, but the PCT didn't really deliver greatness today. Physically or mentally. It just happened. Like life. Some days just go by. There's nothing that makes it amazing, and there's nothing that makes it treacherous. It was just another day and another day to be happy to have survived another night in the wilderness. 

Oh, but this happened... 

That's 1000 miles to go! There's a sadness to this. I pondered it with not much excitement. 

It made me think back to one of my first blog posts out here in regards to Vanessa Carlton's "1000 miles" song. Yeah. My views still haven't changed on that front. One thousand miles equates to hiking the early Sierras, the High Sierras and the desert to Mexico. NO. You would not walk that to "just see you tonight." You might need your head checked. 

There was a drastic change in terrain today, which became incredibly noticeable during the first climb. Rocks. Rocks. And more rocks. Loose rocks. Rock formations. But the worst, rock stairs cases. 

Whoever thought stair cases of ROCKS was an intelligent choice of hiking terrain, needs a double labotomy. Uphill, it calls for some serious stepping and quad use. Downhill, well, you can just say goodbye to your knees and ankles now. Actually, just start to prepare the wheelchair. 

The early part of the day included this rock climb towards a gorgeous outlook over a lake. If it weren't so cold, I would've taken a dip. But alas, this lake was around the 9000 feet of elevation profile, so it would've called for a more alpine glacial experience; close to that of the scene in Kate Winslet's new movie 'the mountain between us'!! I was cool to keep walking. Did I just say that?!

The afternoon turned into a mundane walk through a swampy open meadow. It went on for miles and was exhausting trying to navigate around piles of mud and water flowing over dirt trails. Without getting literally 'stuck in the mud', this took for some side navigation and trying to find where abouts this terrain could be avoided without going off trail too much.

I was exhausted by 6pm. Something just struck the immature 'child' within me which made me get moody and want to call it a day. I also had to listen to my body and it's stress levels. Something this workaholic is learning. I made a decision to camp 30 minutes earlier than usual and aim to leave camp earlier in the morning. That means a 4:45am wake up. 

I understand this regime. I am a night owl usually. I function better in the evening, but for hiking, the body starts to fail and lose focus by 5pm. Let's keep this in context. It's 12 hours of pure hiking with a 1 hour break. I walk ALL DAY. And not just walk; climb, run, snow trek, river cross etc. All whilst carrying a small teenager on my back. 

Oh yeah. I forgot. I had to pick up a bear canister again from Sonora pass for national park legalities. My house on my back is RIDICULOUS in weight again. But I'm not the only one!! Everyone has to carry one! We all look stupid. 

- Gx

DAY 67 - Stubblefield Cyn creek to Spiller Creek

Where do we go from here?

Today was a day of intense elevation rock climbs. One after the other. Thus, the 4:45am wake up call. I gather that my body is starting to lose the plot around 5pm, so I wonder if I wake it earlier, it might be happier to setup camp in a little more daylight. Then I won't be such a child at 5pm!! Haha

So, I'm starting to feel like this particular blog update is intensely negative and full of much more hardship than the previous ones. However, this is a personal journey and I suppose the only way to look at this process is that every day is different. If it was all perfection, what's the point? We go through significant ebbs and flows in life. 

I suppose the biggest thing about me noticing the negative headspace out here, has made me think about why I feel this way? As opposed to just letting it be a depressing time and keep mulling over negative moments, I have chosen to accept the things that make this section difficult and realise that like most things in life, it is only a moment. Something's are not worth revisiting or making it seem better than it really is. Just like some stages of life don't even deserve a chapter in your book, let alone a page. 

I think the pictures here can depict what makes this section difficult. It's one of the ugliest sections in my eyes. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I know, but this delivers nothing. I compare it to a human who has a heart of stone, or the personality of a flea. It's just nothing. And the one depressing thing about this section of hiking is that you hike up and around these rocks to 10,000 ft to see this, then hike back down to hike back up again to see another one, to then hike back down! It is mundane and unrewarding, and not to mention, my freaking legs hurt!

Again, my lack of photos results in the saving of my battery, but more so THERE WAS NOTHING OF INTEREST. I was purely just making the miles and trying to hike the best I could. 

It was a 'Shania' day to get me through. I need music in my life. I actually cannot live without it. It's like a weight lifts and I get this sudden rush of energy and enjoyment. Some people like to get dressed up, or drink and party to let their hair down. Me; give me a guitar, some headphones and I'll see you in 12 hours. It's amazing how much I have realised my love for it. 

When I started to listen to my playlists, this gorgeous shot came up for me. It was what the day needed.

Of course, another rock climb followed, but the music eased the difficulty and allowed me to take a breath, go at my own pace and chill out a bit. 

It really was an unexciting day, purely making miles. Some days are just basic, like every 9 to 5 job. Just like every audience I have performed to is different. Some more excited than others, some quieter than others, some older, some younger. All different, but still with the same purpose of being there.

Just like this section of the PCT. It's here to keep me going. Leading me to the next section. Onwards. And UPWARDS!

- Gx

DAY 68 - Spiller Creek to Lyell Fork Campsite

Don't you know the future's for the brave

I wasn't lying about the rocks.

The continual stair cases of them. Tripsy has been joking for the past few days saying that it's for the "tourists" but no tourist in their right mind would hike this section. The last two days have delivered nothing worth 'sight seeing' and we haven't passed any visitors to the area. It's not a tourist area!! Ha!

However, another 10 miles forward took me through Tuolumne Falls (Too-ahl-um-nee) Yes. Tourists. Day hikers. Section hikers, JMT hikers (John Muir Trail). All with backpacks the size of the globe. They look fresh, smell even fresher and still have bright and clean clothing. They also walk a lot slower. I'm totally cool with that. They haven't got their hiker legs yet, and that's completely fine. It actually made me smile a little. I suddenly realised how far I have come and what strength my body actually has. I was slightly proud passing them, almost running uphill! I didn't realise that MY 'slow' is incredibly fast to the normal hiker. I felt like a thru-hiker. I'm sure I smell like one, too.

After lunch, I had to farewell Tripsy, who was meeting up with her boyfriend to spend a few days in Yosemite. Again, there's something solemn about hugging your hiking friend who has been a constant for you out here. Just like Barry. You have no guarantee of when you will see them again. If ever. They have shared incredible strength, hardship, and an emotional and physical journey with you that no one else actually will. It's a friendship that's probably more genuine than some of the "best friends" out there. I know I will find Tripsy again. She's a strong hiker and we will keep in touch. 

On my headphones went and I strutted off down the trail. Alone again. It's always good for the soul. I had my destination for the night and I was set out to achieve it. A 27 mile day. Finishing uphill at 10,500 ft. I could do it!

(Yep, American Idol has an American flag!) 

The views began to show! I could finally see where I was heading to. In the distance, I could see Mount Lyell (different to the Tassie mountain!!) haha. Many mountaineers summit Lyell, and with the fresh snow cover, I met and passed a few men on an expedition to the top. 

It's always an amazing feeling to be congratulated and encouraged by men out here. They are all so very proud and supportive of a single female hiker trying to make her way to Mexico. They seem in awe. And I like that. It always restores my faith and reminds me that this isn't something everyone does. 

Sometimes I forget that this isn't a normal thing to do! Ha! On days when I struggle, I forget to remind myself that not everyone does this silliness! 

The last few miles of the day, was pure uphill towards Donahue Pass. I wasn't going to go over the pass tonight, I was going to camp 0.7 miles below the top, as you can see in this picture below, the grey clouds started to roll in. It wasn't on the weather cards and I thought it would be best to camp as soon as I could, in case the weather turned nasty. I also wouldn't want to be caught at 11,500 feet in an electrical storm. 

As I continually climbed, I took my time and slowed my breath. The higher the elevation, the harder the breathing gets. I have been aiming to keep a constant heart rate and not over-stress the adrenals. When I'm hiking with others, I tend to forget to stop and take in the landscape. Sometimes what's ahead is no where near as beautiful as what's behind. And that's what I did. I stopped...

I turned around and looked back and below. Wow.

Like life, where we have come from has shaped the individual we are today. Just like this view, the hardship of these last 3 days has brought me to this moment. To appreciate the strength it has given me. To prove that I can conquer a lot. To acknowledge that I am capable. To see that not giving up when things are tough, can produce some of life's greatest achievements. And heck, I'm brave. Isn't that enough?

Alone in the wilderness again. I reached my campsite. Just me. And the mountains. A bloody awesome mountain. I took a look around in the freezing cold and smiled. I took a breath. Wow. The PCT. I'm still here. 

I thought about how content I currently was. The solitude. The wilderness. The lake. The mountains. My house. I don't need much in life. To stand alone on this vast landscape and be ok with that; I really have come a long way.

- Gx

DAY 69 - Lyell fork campsite to Mammoth Lakes

Last night was freezing! The wind rattled my tent for hours on end. It abruptly woke me around 1:30am, where I suddenly thought something was attacking my tent. I laid still for a moment, almost holding my breath where you could hear a pin drop. All of a sudden, the wind began to gust under my vestibule and I sighed a relief. "It's only the wind" I thought. Little did I realise this would go on all night. 

I hardly slept. Actually, I haven't slept one whole night through in the last week or so. The temperature at night has been keeping me awake; tossing and turning, trying to avoid the cold air. I wrap myself like a mummy in my sleeping bag, allowing the hood to keep a small breathing space. However, the cold cuts in through this gap and doesn't allow me to settle. I then try to close the gap, only to feel like I am suffocating! It's a lose/lose situation. My hands are generally numb and my legs feel stuck and frozen at times. So all night, I shift around, unsettled and uneasy.

Then morning arrives and I have to pack up and get on my way. This morning, the winds were still howling. At 10,500 feet, it worries me for the next 1000ft I was about to climb. So, with 5 layers of clothing on, I went on my merry way.

More rocks. More stairs. The gradient wasn't as horrible as I imagined, but that was maybe because I was going at my own pace. Crossing over Donohue Pass has been on my mind a lot. With the recent snow fall, this is the highest elevation I would have been at and it's scary to know what's ahead. I wasn't sure what I would be coming across in regards to ice and snow.

But it was clear as day.

The terrain had a little snow on it, but a clear path of stones made it easy to get around, if there was anything troublesome. 

Funnily, the higher I climbed, the less windy it was! Go figure! It's as though the valley 1000ft from the top was creating an air pocket which totally upset my night. The air was still and calm at the top of the pass. 

It's a shame that this pass didn't really have a view at the top. It was just rock and stone. Nothing really spectacular to show off. I suppose some climbs are just difficult and unrewarding. Like how some people take, take, take and never really give. Selfish mountain!

Over the other side of the pass, the world was luscious. Climbing down the rocks lead me towards green patches, with streams flowing throughout. 

Today was town day. Mentally, it never gets better! Whether your need to do 3 miles or 30 to get to town, you just want it to be done! So, Mammoth Lakes was on my mind. 

This section was gorgeous, however. Suddenly, the lakes have returned! A truly breath taking sight, when the mountains are snowcapped and surrounding the sparkling crystal clear water. These views made the walk into town a lot easier than previous town entrances. 

The weather was sheer perfection today. The sun was shining down and the air was clean and fresh. Every day and section hiker who passed me in the opposite direction, were beaming with how beautiful it was out here. Again, they look so fresh and NOT tired. I assume that I just look like I need a really long sleep!! 

Walking around these ridges today, reminded me of Washington. Wow. How long ago was that? What an achievement so far. It's a little scary to think that this next phase I enter is the High Sierras. The dreaded Sierras! It's all any PCT hiker talks about from the beginning. It's all about doing the Sierras. Ideally, it's 10 days of 10,000-13,000 ft of elevation and about 4 summit climbs a day. It's going to be intense. 

I will resupply, shower, rest up and get my gear together. I've made a decision to drop some stuff and send it out to my brother or forward along the trail, in order to carry some warmer gear to deal with the elements. Sleep is essential for energy, repair and focus, so I need to tackle this cold weather issue and rug up without carrying too much weight on my back. The added bear canister has taken up both space and weight in my pack, plus I'm attempting to see how far through the Seirras I can get before a resupply. 

I know this section of my blog seems much more serious and negative compared to previous posts, but this has been a difficult section to conquer. It's all about the journey and I'm not one to complain much whilst I'm out here. Actually, I'm not one to share my hardships, fullstop. I generally turn up to the theatre and no one would know if something terrible was going on. As much as I wear my heart on my sleeve in other aspects of my personality, I tend to hide my obstacles from people. I keep my shield up. Out here, my shield is up as much as possible, but I've definitely allowed myself to drop it, in order to share this experience. It's not all pretty ribbons and bows. All the amazing pictures you see are only a fraction of the journey. There is a huge percentage of this trail that people don't share and it is pure ugly. But you have to appreciate and love the ugly to really understand and feel content with the beauty. And sometimes, from the ugliest situations comes the most beautiful of experiences. Love the imperfections. 

- Gx


  1. Wow wow wow... oh darling. Gruelling and arduous and oh still so inspiring. The analogies with life and challenges is so evocative. Such a privilege to share this epic journey with you - the good the bad and the ugly. KEEP GOING GRETS!!! YOU ARE FUCKING AWESOME. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  2. Hi. I just found your blog googling Pacific Crest Trail and I've loved reading all the posts that you've made! Your trail hike has been great to follow so far.


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