10 Jun Day 47 – Figuring it out
At mile 1270.3. Hiked 20.5 PCT miles today. Hiked alternate route adding another mile or two.
My campsite with human company, again. Good! Usually my only camping companions are bear and deer.
Today I hiked the Bucks Lake alternate route so I could visit Haskins store. But first, I need to tell you about what I figured out.
I’ve been meeting thru-hikers of the “intense” variety who are doing 30 plus mile days and who entered the Sierras in May (early) only to be caught in a blizzard and have to backtrack. I’ve also been pushing myself with the struggle through the snow and more recently a 25 mile day. It occurred to me that this can’t continue. I won’t enjoy the hike and physical exhaustion will turn into mental exhaustion. I’ll waver mentally and emotionally and not follow through with this hike. I asked myself just how much I really needed to hike each day. Funny that I had never done that calculation. While hiking I checked my location using Guthook and saw that I was at mile 1256. I know that the trail is 2650 miles long. Rounding 1256 to 1250, I figured that I have 1400 miles to reach Canada. That is an interesting number and a little serendipitous to have come up with the very first time I tried this exercise. Divide it by 20 miles per day and you get 70 days. That puts me getting to Canada around August 17th. Then why am I killing myself with 25 mile days? What is interesting is that with these numbers, every reduction of daily mileage by 2 miles means an additional week of hiking to arrive in Canada. At 18 miles per day I arrive on August 24th. At 16, I arrive on August 31. I had already figured that I could start the Sierras as late as mid September to cover the first 350 mile portion that is at high weather risk. The last 90 miles are lower elevation and drier. Having done the numbers, I have figured out that I should avoid 25 mike days. My days should be around 20 miles and could be 18 or even 16 miles with no risk to finishing. Limiting mileage would be easier on me physically, but more importantly, it will keep me in the right frame of mind. I know I can do this physically, i need to ensure I can do it mentally. The surest way for me to complete the hike is to ease up on the mileage so that the experience is a joy, not a grind.
Saw a bobcat really close today. I was peeing in the woods and it came toward me through a clear area and down the hill. It didn’t run and it was quite close. Once it noticed me it stopped. Only after I pulled my IPhone from my pocket did it begin to move away. It moved away deliberately, not in a rush like the bear I saw last night.
There is a deer in our campsite again tonight. Yes, I said “our”. Big Foot and Peter Pan from Alaska.are renting here. I met them a couple days south of Walker Pass. I also have Hollywood tenting here. Hollywood was caught in the Sierra blizzard. His friends separated in the blizzard and they had a frantic time calling out to one another. Hollywood said he had frozen feet and that he regretted going into the Sierras when he did.
This morning I ran into Michael and the Professor and Mario. They were the first people I knew that I have run into since returned. Talking to them and catching up lifted my spirits.
It’s going to be a colder night. Hands are already cold from typing this.
Now back to Bucks Lake Alternate. I bought instant coffee and other items at Haskins. Yay!! I’ve been missing coffee since a meth head / heroin / fetanyl addict stole it in Sierra City. I ate well today. Two meals at Bucks Lake plus a lot of snacks while hiking. I also had Gatorade and ice cream.
I took a swim in Bucks Lake at the Lakeshore Resort. Afterwards, I had fish and chips at their Restaurant. Here is where I swam.
Here are the first good views climbing out of Middle Fork Feather river gorge.
Here is the bobcat I saw.
Here are views from Lookout Rock
Here is a nice creek.
Here is the view from the deck of Lakeshore Resort where I dined ion fish and chips.