Thursday, 28 May 2015

PCT Day 9

Day 9 - 23miles
I'm up for 5am and walking by 5:30am. I'd spent the night sleeping on and off. My mind for no reason deciding to have a massive conversation with itself. I'm slow to get going but this is mainly as I get 4g and video call back home as I walk down the 4000ft Fuller Ridge. It takes ages. It already hot by 8am... I have breakfast which consists of a packet of crushed biscuits.
I want to get to the next water source by lunch which is 16 miles away. I brush by large desert flowers and bushes laden with Bees. Trying not to disturb them I whizz by but I'm not exactly agile with my pack on. I have enough water to get me down but my knees and feet are taking a constant pounding. I make 15 miles by 11am and find a massive shady rock to take shelter under - I'm a mile away so I wait for midday heat to pass. I have enough water and cool off. This has been the hottest day so far. I read ahead in my guide book of what is to come and eat more biscuits. I don't know what to expect in the Sierras. Out here is totally different to anything in the UK. I'm going to need a bear canister and possibly an ice axe which I've never wielded before.
 I venture out briefly and the intense rays burn me. I nap for a while and eventually decide to brave the sun just before 3pm. I speed down the last 1 mile to the water tap and hide in the shade of a large rock - I fit but only just. I fill a bottle and down it with fruit flavourings. I brush my teeth, top up my water and off I go. It's a long slog of a road followed by walking through deep sand into the wind, my hat tries to take flight several times. I want to check I'm going in the right direction. I know I must be but my paranoia sets in. Then my English phone won't turn on, maybe it's overheated? A long freight train rolls by and I pass under the bridge as it rattles along above me. I see a PCT badge which confirms I'm going in the right direction. Underneath to my delight a trail angel has left a Dr Pepper, despite this trail magic site begin targeted by vandals they've continued to supply the cooler box. I down it with ease happy to be drinking something with a lot of flavour.
I continue walking and aim to be at the Mesa wind farm before night fall. I pass a hiker box left by locals and descend upon it. My food rations are becoming depleted and I can't top up till Big Bear. I scoop out some pinto beans and mixed vegetables. The pinto beans I find out later are just plain beans with no tomato sauce. Since I don't have a tin opener I hammer at the rim with my pen knife like a ravenous cave woman. Even though they taste incredibly bland I eat them anyway and march on. A random black hatchback pulls over on the road a little down the slope from me. I stare unsure as to why they're there. They do nothing as I walk on hoping to gain ground as the temperature has now cooled.
I zone out and enter my own world and suddenly hear a hissing. I turn and see a small rattlesnake arching and uncoiling itself. I don't stop and quicken my pace. Baby rattlesnakes are extremely deadly as they can't control how much venom they give to a victim and often dispense a fatal amount. It thankfully doesn’t race after me. I walk on slowly devouring my flavourless beans as I ascend. Round a corner I find a lone hiker. I had wondered when I’d come across someone. After following so many peoples steps in the sand I thought I was bound to come across someone. This guy was called Shaun and was from Texas. We chatted briefly both exhausted by the heat and day of walking. I asked if I could camp next to him and set up my little tent. I catch up on my journal surrounded by the wind farm and their chorus of whistling and whirring. I was quite glad to have company to night even if Shaun wasn’t too talkative heading to bed after half an hour. We chill in the evenings twilight enjoying the solace its brought us. Perching I watch the 50 plus wind turbines, 29 of which were spinning successfully and once again the moon shines down casting a white aura over everything.

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