Day 41 (Saturday, May 28): mile 569.41 to mile 592.95, 23.54 miles. (up/down: +4547/-3855ft)
The wind was blowing hard all night. Every few minutes the wind would catch my sleeping sleeping bag and blow it up/off. This has officially been the worst night sleep on the trail yet. I think I maybe got one hour of sleep. I still don’t know how I am managing to function with such little sleep and covering so many miles. As frustrating as it is, it is at least nice to rest the body/lay down for a few hours every night and I saw a nice sunrise.
I get my best/sometimes only sleep right when I go to bed and right before I have to get up in the morning. I could “easily” get up and start walking at 3 a but then I’d miss my potential 1 hour of sleep from 4:30-5:30. So I finally knew there was no chance I was getting more sleep and I had a decent climb today, I got up and ready, hitting trail at 6:50a.
It was a very slow start. Days after being in town are usually hard, but today my body was fighting me. My feet started doing that numb/tingly thing again. I was going slow….Very, very slow and stopping every switchback or less to try and get some normal sensation back in my feet.
I finally made it to the first top, which was just a couple miles in, where I took a break with a couple other hikers for second breakfast and cookies. I then passed on and passed Smiles and a small water cache. I chatted for a minute and kept going. I already had enough water and didn’t want to lose too much momentum.
The trail was mostly down hill, with a few small climbs all the way to the next water source. Yet again, I walked through another windfarm. I swear these things never end! Along the way, I also ran into a big gopher snake who didn’t want to move. Thankfully, I was on a wide dirt road and could just walk around him.
Between about mile 575 & right before the spring (583), I didn’t see a single person. I have been walking solo for pretty much the whole trail, which is an incredible experience, and much different then walking with others…but man, I wish I had some company sometimes.
Just before 1 p I ran into Woodchuck again just as we pulled into the Golden Oaks Spring, a lovely green algae and muck filled horse trough. Thankfully there is a small pipe that feeds clean water into the trough. There were also many other hikers (most if not all, I’ve seen before) taking their afternoon lunch and siesta break.
During my two hour lunch break, I again took no nap, and pondered how far to go the rest of the afternoon. I figured a couple more hours would get me 5-7 miles further which would mean a nice 20 mile day. I walked along ANOTHER EFFIN WIND FARM & I saw some nice sites just a few miles in, but it was only 4:30 and way too early to stop. I ran into another snake on trail who refused to move. I’m pretty sure he was a harmless garter snake, but didn’t want to try to step over him on the narrow trail. I banged my poles, kicked dirt, whistled and poked at him. No movement. After waiting a couple more minutes, I just has to push him over with my hiking pole.
As I continued, I leapfrogged another girl for the whole way from the spring to camp. I ended up not seeing any more decent campsites and hiked 10 miles from the spring, 5 more than I planned, making for an almost 24 mile day. It was killer. There were a couple climbs to get there and they were brutal on my exhausted legs that happened to also be carrying 19 miles worth of water. Finally I started to descend, and reached the campsite for the night. Ate a no cook/waterless meal, socialized with the others at the site and retired top my tent for some much needed rest.
Refried beans and cheese crackers in a tortilla
Cookies and cream hazelnut spread
Honey mustard chicken and crackers
6 liters water