Day 40

August 25
Miles:  22.3
PCT:  2184.5 – 2206.8
Total Miles:  478.1

Had to climb 3000 feet today.  My feet were good and I got in over 22 miles in.  Pretty good day.  Camped at a campgrounds with a pit toilet and a picnic table.  Quite a luxury.  I got up in the dark as usual and had to use the pit toilet.  I took my headlamp and headed to where I thought the toilet was located, walking through brush and trees in the dark.  Found the toilet.  Afterwords, I headed back through the woods to my campsite, but could not find it.  After trying several directions, I turned my headlamp onto high-beam and was able to scan further into the woods and could see the reflective tape on my tent.  Whew!!  It’s a little eerie walking in the woods, in the dark, not sure where you are.

Wish I could tell you the names of the mountains in the pics below.  It’s funny, because I don’t really have any interest in what things are called.  The day-hikers seem to know the names of every hill, valley and trail in the area.  They also know the flora/fauna by name.  I know only to follow that 18 inch wide ribbon of trail, mostly looking down to avoid tripping on rocks and roots.  The only map I look at is the one on my phone that tells me what mile location I’m at and how far to go today.  I do like looking at the beauty and wonderment of the forest and views but I don’t really care what things are called.

One other thing that is unusual about me is I don’t seem to like hiking.  People find this to be weird for a thru-hiker but I actually think that most people don’t like it either.  They just won’t admit it.  Hiking is by far the worst part of the trip.  Camping, viewing, going to town, meeting nice, friendly people are lots of fun.  But hiking hurts all the time.  I usually spend most of my day trying to think of things that will distract me from the pain and the very long hours of hiking that needs to be endured.  People tell me that after half the hike is over I will start to like hiking as the daily pain will be gone.  I’m skeptical, since the climbs will still be hard.  When I get in better shape, I just want to go faster and do more miles, making the hike just as hard.  It will always be long days and very difficult.  I equate it to doing a marathon every day.  In a marathon, all you want to do is get to the finish as fast as possible.  It is always painful as you always want to go as fast as you can.  Same for a thru-hike.  I was told to just slow down and do fewer miles, but that would defeat my prime objective of health and fitness.  I need to make this hard to get my fitness improved and weight down.  Also, I need to get to the Sierras before snow hits.  I’m already in jeopardy of hitting snow.

I think that people should be honest with themselves and just admit that the hiking part of thru-hiking sucks but is necessary to achieve their other objectives for doing the hike.  Day hiking is the best way to enjoy hiking as you probably won’t be in much pain for one day and you can still see the same kinds of beautiful wilderness as a thru-hiker.  This is likely to be a controversial statement.

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Bill (Blackhawk Down)

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2 Responses to Day 40

  1. BeeKeeper says:

    I think you are rare in truly not enjoying the hiking part. Few would continue such an endeavor with such negative feelings. How can you improve health when you are so unhappy about the process? Most are not in pain nor miserable. You definitely have the perseverance card.

    • billweberx says:

      Hi Jan,

      I’ve done a lot of thinking on this and have concluded that I probably like hiking/backpacking as long as I’m not in a lot of pain. I’ve really been suffering for a variety of reasons on this trip. I haven’t had a day without pain. Hard to like hiking, or any activity, in that condition. If I were 30 years younger, I’m sure I would be having a great time. If my feet improve, I’m sure my attitude will change for the better. I still prefer to bring lots of stuff for camp even if it means a heavy pack. Now that I fixed my pack, I don’t feel the extra weight. I don’t think my feet issues are due to 10 extra lbs. I haven’t weighed myself yet, but I’d be surprised if I haven’t lost at least 25-30 lbs.

      Bill

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