Day 27: Gone with the Wind

Day 27 (Friday, May 13): Guffy Springs (mi 364.36) to Little Jimmy Campground (mi 383.86), 19.5 miles. (up/down: 4739/-5429 + summit)

Happy Friday the 13th!

I left camp fairly early, to get to Inspiration Point Trailhead where I would potentially get a hitch to town. It was a nice walk down hill, passing by a couple different ski “hills”. The trail parallel a gravel road leading to various campgrounds. At one point, I was walking alongside a car with a Utah license plate! They stopped right below me as I came to an intersection. I was hoping they would wait for me and give me a ride; Utahans unite! Unfortunately, they were just throwing stuff away and left just seconds before I met the road. Turns out, they picked up a pair of hikers waiting at the trailhead too. Bummer.
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I got the trailhead with a German I had been leapfrogging for a while. Wang and Goldenboy were also waiting. The traffic was very slow, not too surprising for a Friday Morning. I waited about 10 minutes, and still no had been picked up. A few more hikers arrived and got in the queue. My plan of waiting only 10 minutes quickly vanished. What the hell, I am already waiting, what is a bit longer? After about 20-30 minutes a car finally picked up the 4 hikers before me. About 5 minutes later, a car was dropping off a hiker and we got them to take us (Rusty, Lisa and I) to town.
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I enjoyed breakfast at Grizzly Café (10% off), then walked over to Mountain Hardware to check out the very hiker friendly store and got my PCT Patch. From there I dropped pack and went Village Grind for a drink (free coffee, or $1 off beverage for hikers. Some fellow hiker trashes were already working on some beers, be it only 10 am. I stopped at the grocery store for some fresh fruit, retrieved my pack and then waited or a hitch back to trail. It took a while, but finally a nice man did a U turn and picked me up. His name was Rueben and he was a local psychologist, in fact the only one with a practice in the whole town! It was nice to talk to someone in the same field as I and he lifted my sprits telling me that I could conquer the whole trail with my attitude.
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Not too far after being back on trail, I came to Grassy Hollow Visitor Center where there was a field trip. Little kids everywhere! At one point a group was learning about the PCT and stopped to ask me questions. My favorite, Q: Do you like hiking? A: Sometimes. I continued down the trail, to shortly later arrive at Vincent Gap, and man it was windy! This was the last stop before the climb up to Baden Powell. Here I met Chris, a section hiker. I said see ya later, and started my way up. Wow, what a climb. Switchback after switchback after switchback. I had to stop at nearly every turn for a quick breather. Man, the trail was kicking my butt! As I got closer to the top, the snow appeared, and became near impassable. At one point, I bypassed the trail and just got on my hands and feet and crawled up the side of the mountain, avoiding the slippery and steep snow pass.

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Holy cow, it was windy! I swear there were 60 mph gusts and the sand was spitting at my face. I finally came to the trail junction to the summit. I dropped my pack, and weary it would blow away, I attached it to a tree root and made my way to the summit. I was certain I was going to get blown off trail, but I made it. Not as mind blowing as I was hoping, but still cool and a definite achievement. I took my pics and got back down as quick as possible. There was a trail about 2 miles down the trail where I would hopefully stop to eat and take a break at a campsite. Once I got there, it was already occupied and I didn’t want to invade their space. I had thought there was another trailhead after Vincent Gap, but I mistook it for the summit. It was nearly 4:30 by the time I found a place out of the wind to eat lunch.

My motivation and energy was running thin, blowing away with the wind. The climb and wind had given me a real beating. Little Jimmy Campground was still 4 miles away, but it felt like 10. Up and down I went, and repeat. I was beat. The last 3 miles felt like forever, but I finally made it to Little Jimmy at about 7:20. Usually when I get to camp, I feel like I could hike a little further if needed; Today, I was done! I have never been so done hiking. In fact, I was done hiking an hour or two before I even arrived. I skipped past the water source and just went straight to set up camp. I ran into Richard again who I hadn’t seen since before mile 100. We chatted and caught up as the sun went down. I skipped a hot dinner and just ate snacks and was just happy to not be walking.

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