PCT Day 118: Body in Revolt

August 17

Mike 2569.4-2592.4 (23.0)

I slept poorly, feeling feverish and nauseous. Woke at 6am, packed up, and started walking to the bakery. The cool of the morning helped. The quiet walk along Lake Chelan helped, too.

Hot coffee, two pieces of quiche, and treats for the trail. I hung around the bakery for an hour, chatting with locals and hikers and soaking up the feeling of nourishment and coziness, until the shuttle came at 8:30am. I tucked myself into a corner seat in the crowded, stuffy bus, and was deposited back at High Tunnel Ranger Station.

It was already pretty hot when I got to the trailhead. It just got hotter and hotter. I roasted, searching for shade but finding little. I tried to will my body to hike faster but it wouldn’t. It was like walking through oatmeal. Heat + sun + biting flies + heavy pack + achy body. Thru hiking!
I did see a bear in the forest, very close to the trail. It had been in the berry bushes until I startled it and it bounded noisily away. That was the third bear I’ve seen on the PCT, the large brown bear on trail in Northern California and the small black bear on the Eagle Creek alternate being the other two. So cool!

I plodded along at my sludge-like pace. Eventually I will get to a cooler elevation, I thought, with shade and a breeze. Eventually I will eat nutritious food and not have a constant stomach ache. Eventually I will get to lay around all day if I want, rest my painful feet, take a shower every day.

Canada is so close. I try not to think about it while I’m hiking, but on this final stretch I am always aware of how many miles left.

I walked through forest all day, very gradually gaining elevation and cooling off. Black flies and mosquitos took turns tormenting me. I camped early to give myself a little extra rest, so I can better enjoy these last few miles on the PCT.


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