Thursday, June 5, 2014

Day 55. The cold

18 miles
813 to 831

Frozen water bottles indicated just how cold the night had been.  I wore all of my clothes to bed- dirty hiking clothes layered under fleece, head wrapped in my down jacket, mittens tucked into cold spots. Packing up on mornings like this is always tough- despite eating breakfast in my hammock and being fast to pack, my hands and toes sometimes get numb from the cold before I start hiking.
Another freezing-cold water stream to ford.
We arrived at the first stream ford in just a few minutes. Too much water to hop across on the rocks.  Dang! The rocks and banks were covered in ice. Arizona plunged right in.  I took the extra time to take off my socks and gaiters before putting my trail runners back on and wading into the icy water. Yikes it was frigid!   My feet hurt like crazy.  After crossing, we hiked quickly hoping to warm up.  Still, Arizona's wet pants froze solid in the cold air.  I've never seen anyone's clothes freeze while they are still wearing them.  Dang that's cold!
After a short distance, after getting colder and loosing all feeling in our toes, there was yet another stream crossing! This time feet were screaming with pain from the cold. It was the scary kind of cold, a horrible stabbing pain. We couldn't go on. I wrapped my numb feet in my down jacket and Arizona got into his sleeping bag to warm up. It was a miserable moment. What were we doing out here?!? 
Arizona tries to warm up in his sleeping bag while we wait for the sun to come out.
At times when things get rough out here, I have to remind myself, "I am on the PCT, that this is what I have been training all these years for, and that I am out here living the dream." But when I tried to say that this time, the words felt hollow. Being that cold was freaking awful.
My feet are wrapped up in my down jacket as I try to massage some life into them.
While we tried to warm up, my wet shoes froze solid. Ugh! We delayed as long as we dared, but reluctantly put our wet cold stuff back on (even with gortex socks, the wet still soaks through). We couldn't just wait longer because we needed to get up and over Mather Pass and then get set up for Muir Pass the next day. The miles out here are rough and exhausting, and there is not much time to dawdle.  A short while later we had a third frozen water ford.  What a day!
Stunningly beautiful lakes.
Thankfully the rest of the day got better. There were incredible waterfalls and lakes. But being that cold sure sapped the energy out of me, and it was another tiring day.
Ready for bed.


  1. Seems so odd that it would be that cold---the photos make it seem like it would be warm! I'm sorry it was a rough day! :(

  2. I put my shoes in a bag and then put them at the bottom of my bivy or sleeping bag to prevent frozen shoes in the morning. Good luck