Day 51

Sept 5
Miles:  19.9
PCT:  2322.7 – 2342.6
Total Miles:  615.5

Lot’s little climbs today with a couple of 1000 ft or so climbs.  My feet really hurt, especially my right foot.  I’m limping hard and going slow.  My milage is being held to 20 per day only because of my feet.  I believe that I could hit close to 30 per day if my feet were not holding me back.  It’s very frustrating, and agonizing.  I finally got a pack that doesn’t hurt my shoulders, and now the agony has moved to my feet.  What’s next?

The campsite last night was large and filled with people.  I’m very used to sleeping alone.  I guess the pack caught up with me and things will be crowded for the rest of Washington.  I like sleeping alone as I can get up early and make all the noise I want packing up.  I take a long time to pack.  Most people take an hour or less.  I take 2 hours every morning.  I tried to speed this up but I just can’t.  I don’t like feeling hurried in the morning.  I am very systematic, doing everything in a proper sequence.  If I don’t load my pack just right, it will be uncomfortable all day.  I cook breakfast, brush my teeth, take my medications, including applying ointment to my shoulders.  I have an air mattress that requires a careful folding to get it to fit in it’s stuff sack.  My morning time includes going into the woods in the dark and digging a cat hole for my morning constitution.  At the start, I really don’t get out of my sleeping bag for 15-20 minutes. 

It’s very quiet early in the morning, especially if the wind is not blowing, and you can hear every movement in the tents next to you.  Out of respect for the others, if I’m not camping alone, I get up when everyone else gets up, but I wind up leaving camp an hour later.  Quite a disadvantage.  Since my feet are holding me to 20 mile days, it’s not really hurting me to get up late, but if my feet get better, I hope I have more alone time at night.

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I did a lot off walking across saddles between mountains, giving  views on both sides of the hills.

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That thing that looks like a camera issue is mist in the mountains. 

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Pretty cool crossing bridge over the highway.  A little further down was a trail angle with food and lawn chairs.  While I appreciate the selfless giving of trail angels, I don’t find the stops worth the time spent.  I like to keep my rest stops brief, and you wind up spending up to an hour at the trail angel stops, killing your schedule.  Also, I don’t really need the food that’s offered.  I want a big hamburger with fries or all you can eat pizza.  They usually have the same kind of snacks that you are already eating on the trail like chocolate, chips, etc.  They often have fruit and veggies, but I’m usually not in the mood for those.  Some trail angels will have something like chilli dogs, but will only give you one little one with a dollop of chilli.  For me, this is just a tease, making me super hungry.  They all mean well, and can’t supply all you can eat with so many hikers going through, but I would rather skip it than be teased with a small sample.  Some have soda and beer, but again, limit access.  In the future, I will probably try to skip past the trail angels and save the time.  I’m sure most hikers are very happy with what is provided.  I feel a little sheepish for looking a gift horse in the mouth, but I have to tell it like it is.

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Typical stream where I get my water.

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Bill (Blackhawk Down)

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