Pct day 121

October 7-8

1930 – 1974

I woke up to a frigid tent. These days I can only pull myself out of my sleeping nest when I’m on the verge of peeing myself. In normal climes, I can be a morning person. But apparently I’m trying to hibernate now, or go nocturnal.

What do hibernating animals do about peeing? 

When I finally pried myself up, I saw a frozen puddle on the ground. The ground froze last night, right when I was asleep on top of it. The bottle of coffee felt especially lovely in my chilly hands. 

Everywhere I looked, mushrooms were popping up from the forest floor. Or from the sides of trees and logs. Some are plain, some have interesting alien tentacles. And some look very penile. 

It occurred to me that today would be the day. Time to walk the walk. If I was going to try walking all night, I needed to get on with it. The forecast called for two days of drizzle. Why not skip the damp camp and just keep walking all night? There wasn’t that much to see. I wasn’t going to miss any grand views. I topped up the charge on my headlamp battery and drank some cold instant. No problem.

The thing about hiking in the dark is that I don’t get distracted by pretty views. I stopped a few times to eat. But sitting in the dark felt somehow creepier than walking in the dark. I played podcasts all night, figuring the voices would give the night animals plenty of forewarning. I didn’t see a single set of eyes. Just rain droplets. Around 3, my headlamp went dead. I switched to my phone.  Around dreary sunrise, I started getting the sleep wobbles. It was still raining and I kept walking. 

I kept walking all day. Once I stopped to make coffee. Every single thing inside my bag was wet. My gloves were soaked and my hands hurt. The only way to be warm was to keep walking. I gobbled some more ibuprofen and wondered what my feet looked like after 2  days inside in those waterproof socks.

In the afternoon I came to Obsidian Falls. Wet black obsidian littered the path. There were no other visitors at the waterfalls.

Pulling my all-nighter did give me flashbacks to Berkeley days. That robot feeling the next day, how nothing feels real or solid. I set up my tent in the drizzle. It felt good to be done, but I wasn’t as tired as I’d expected. 

4 thoughts on “Pct day 121

  1. Gretchen, the conditions sound rough. You are awesome to be still out there braving the elements. I wonder how much further you are going to go? I don’t think I could do what you are doing right now. Best wishes.


  2. Good job Gretchen – 44 Miles – you have become quite the hiking machine!!! – I’ve enjoyed all your posts the past 4 months and am very impressed with your determination on the trail – there can’t be very many PCT hikers still out there – you should be very proud.

    Liked by 1 person

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