Where is the Cap? And the Water?

PCT 2012, Day 2 -- 5/2/12

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Oh my!

Did I tell you that I left my maps in John's truck? I am going partly blind... I think that contributed to my problems today.

Last night I was exhausted and pulled off the trail while the hikers I was with continued on. I slept very good and warm even though the wind howled all night. I got up at first good light and was hiking by 6:20.

First problem was to get down out of the snow. That turned out to be pretty difficult cause all the foot steps were hard ice and slippery as all get out. But, there was no problem navigating cause there were plenty of foot steps, but it was still slow going and exhausting.

I finally got out of the snow at about 8:30 and started hiking lots faster. I was in a 20 mile section without water. My problem was that I didn't know how much mileage I spent in the snow. Along the way I figured out that I had a long way to go without much water. On top of that I must have not tightened a cap on one of my bottles and I spilled a liter that I was counting on.

I hiked for about 5.5 hours this morning with a 20 minute break before lunch. It is a 18 mile drop from the top on mostly hot trail. At lunch I had just a few swallows left. And I had been conserving water all morning. With 7 miles to go I left lunch and headed down. Oh I took forever and I could feel my body go into dehydration mode. Nausea and muscle cramps began. On each short pause my body would lock up with cramps and it would take 20 minutes to stand again. So at the end I had to keep walking no matter what.

I finally made it to the next water at 3:45 after an exhausting hike. I filled a bottle and as soon as I sat down I cramped up -- probably worse than I remember for a long time: multiple cramps all over at the same time with no way to twist to stretch them out without other muscles cramping. I laid that way for almost an hour. My hiker friends that I made last night showed up and had some sort of pills that made me better within 20 minutes. Man I really don't want to do that again. Normally, I drink close to 1.5 gallons per day. Today, I only had about 1.5 pints before getting to the water spot. For me, at least, water is essential.

On top of all that I have ruined my feet. All the downhill walking (7000 feet) produced huge blisters on the bottom heals of both feet. Tonight I can barely walk.

We ended the day close to the 10 freeway. Since we were close to a road, the hikers I was with decided to go to a hotel tonight. Considering my current condition I went with them. Turns out that Lowell had a uncle that lives in Palms Springs that was picking him up for the night. He was kind enough to give us a ride too!

I am staying in a cheap room in Palm Springs. In retrospect I might have bit off a little too much for my first two days on the trail. This is my first hike for 7 months, and I am nowhere as fit as I was then.

The plan is to start where we left off tomorrow. I will see how I feel.

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The Trail on the way down from Fuller Ridge.
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A view of the I-10 Freeway from up high.
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A Yucca plant.
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Its dry out here.
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Still working my way down. Its taking forever.
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The famous drinking fountain. Only water for 20 miles.