Thursday, June 5, 2014

Day 57. Seldon Pass

19.4 miles
854 to 873.6

I started the day in tears. My foot hurt so bad this morning I could barely walk. I told Arizona to start hiking without me. I hobbled up the trail going pitifully slow. Each step sent stabbing shots of pain through my foot. Why wasn't the ibuprofen working?!?

Dark thoughts clouded my brain. How was I going to make it over the next pass and then across Bear Creek ford today? What if this injury takes me off the trail? My foot hurt so bad! Tears ran down my face. Then as I hobbled down the trail, I started to sob- crying hard. But I kept hiking. And eventually, the tears slowly dried up. I had to just keep going.
A few hours later I found Arizona waiting for me while talking to Red. Red told me how his leg had hurt him and how the pain moved around for him as his gait changed. Hearing that helped me because it reminded me that injuries happen to all of us out here- it's part of the PCT experience, part of being a thru hiker is learning to hike through the pain.
More ice-covered lakes.
Arizona slowed down to hike with me over Seldon Pass, which thankfully didn't have much snow.  We took extra breaks which seemed to help a lot.

I was also nervous all day because of Bear Creek ford, the most dangerous ford on the PCT and the one we'd heard a few days before had knocked another hiker off her feet.  I misread my trail notes, and crossed Bear Creek without even realizing it!  The water was above my knees, but I'm tall so I didn't feel unstable at all.  Guess I didn't need to spend all that energy being so nervous!
This isn't so bad.
The whole day we crossed dozens of fords, and our feet are most always wet.   Still, if there was any chance to keep our feet dry, we would leap across rocks or balance precariously on logs.  It didn't matter if we'd just had to wade across another ford a few minutes before and the water was still sloshing out of our trail runners. As if we still held out hope our shoes might dry by the end of the day do we wouldn't have frozen shoes the next morning.
Lots of whitewater.
I'm glad I'll be in VVR tomorrow for a much needed zero day!


  1. OH man, what a rough time. I'm sorry about your foot and completely understand and can empathize with the dark thoughts. I think every thru-hiker gets them at some point. Enjoy your zero!

  2. Reading your post and felt your anguish and some of your pain . To push through shows how strong and determined you are. I think we can take feet for granted sometimes and when we develop an issue it is debilitating and scary . I was out walking mountains yesterday and developed a severe pain in my foot ( no blister but mechanical issue ) made it to the top and could not walk another step . Had to get down again and realised that the pressure going down was different and the pain lessened so the gait change has impact .
    Hope the pain settles and you start smiling again soon.

    1. Hi Steve- Just wanted to say thank you so much for this note. I wasn't able to respond at the time, but I thought I'd let you know that I read this message while I was out on the trail, and it really helped to hear about your experience with foot pain too. Realizing that I wasn't alone, that others are dealing with injuries as well allowed me to step outside my own anguish and be more in-the-moment. It helped me get through the day. Thank you.