Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Day 7. Water

82.4 to 101

I was really nervous and anxious the week before I set off on the PCT. I had a vivid nightmare that I was on the PCT behind a hoard of nearly 50 hikers standing in line to get water. Maybe that doesn't sound scary to you, but I was horribly thirsty and the crowd was loud and boisterous. My fears are obvious- scarcity of water and inability to find a wilderness experience.
Having mixed feelings about getting water from a cache.
Thankfully, the PCT has a comfortable number of people out here- not too many yet. But water is still something I spend a lot of time on- planning how much to carry, figuring out how many miles between water sources, and going to find water. There is a "water report" that is updated often that serves as our primary resource for determining which springs are dry and which water spigots or cattle tanks are operating. The other thing it says is how much water is at "caches"-- those are places between water sources where trail angels leave water in jugs. The problem with caches is that all the water might already have been taken by other hikers, so we've been told never to rely on the caches and to carry enough water so you will be ok if the caches are dry.

Before I started the PCT, I thought that I would not take water from the caches. I wanted to take enough water from the reliable sources so I wouldn't need the caches at all. I thought it would be simple enough to judge how much water I would drink.

I started with enough water containers to hold 10 liters. Do you know how heavy that much water is?!?!? I've only carried 7 liters so far, and that was really tough. In the southeast, water carries are more like 5 miles, but the first water carry on the PCT is 20 miles! What a difference! I was so glad Pathfinder and I practiced carrying water in Guadalupe on our southwest tour.

Today, we got to the Third Gate water cache, and I still had a longways to go to the next water, it was hot, and I only had a liter and a half. So I took two more liters from the cache, which got me safely to the next water source. But I had have mixed feelings about doing so. Pathfinder and Susan keep teasing with me about how I do tend to be judgmental- judging myself the most harshly. They also remind me that the trail angels that stock the water do it to make the hike safer for everyone, and that they get a lot out of feeling like they are part of our journey. And I am thankful to the trail angels who stock the caches for us. But I am also learning to be a better judge of how much water I need in this heat. I also think that out here on the PCT, maybe I will finally learn to be less judgmental and more accepting- of both myself and others.

Now I am hanging in my hammock at Barrel Springs, mile 101. (note to other hammock hangers- plentiful trees 3.5 miles past here at San Ysirdo Creek are more scenic and further from the road) Someone is softly playing the violin. Ah what a lovely sound mixed with the dripping sound of the spring and the croaking of a frog!
Hanging at Barrel Springs.

1 comment:

  1. The social thing is what I would have anxiety over. I like meeting and camping with a limited number of people, but a herd is not what I go to the wilderness for. We do our section hikes at a time when the thrus are only starting to come by and it is really fun talking to the fast ones who are finishing up in August. Not sure how I would do with everyone in the desert. Anyhow, enjoying the blog so far! Monkey Bars