Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Day 183- Squaw Valley Creek

Day 183, 10/8/14
1476 (McCloud River) to 1499 (switchbacks down to I-5)
23 miles

Second to last day on the PCT (this year).   Woke at 4 AM and I could see the lunar eclipse despite being down in the river valley.  Stunning!  Seeing it brought back memories of watching the lunar eclipse during my first week on the PCT.  Back in the desert, my only night on the PCT where I've sleep on the ground and not in my hammock.  I was surrounded by my friends Pathfinder, Rewind, and Farwalker.  Looking back I see just how much my experience of the trail has been shaped and made so meaningful by my friendships with these gals and with so many others.

An hour after sunrise, I saw two bear cubs scamper down the hillside after their mama, who bolted when she heard me walking down the trail.  Fourth time I've seen bears on the PCT- one outside Big Bear City, twice in Yosemite.  All bears that were fearful of humans, or at least left us alone.  Glad the bears are getting more wild with changes in human practices.  (See this article for more on how bears in Yosemite are eating less human food and causing fewer problems.)

Squaw Valley Creek was flowing clear and cold.  I was delightfully surprised to find it deep enough, even this late in the season, for a chilly and brief swim.
Squaw Valley Creek.
I filled up enough water for a dry camp and started to climb up from Squaw Valley Creek.  My feet were like lead weights.  Each step required effort.  Why wasn't I my normal, strong hill-climbing self?  How frustrating to feel so weak and sluggish!  I started to get bummed out about myself- wasn't I stronger than this?!?
Nice soft trail.  This should not be difficult.
And then I realized that I was also dizzy and chilled- all signs of low blood sugar, of my hypoglycemia.  I had previously managed pretty well on the PCT with my diet, but the last few days, I'd experienced major hiker hunger (and longer miles) and I hadn't brought enough food to keep up.   With with rationing my food, I was concerned about not having enough food to get me into town.  Gotta love it how just when I think I've figured things out, they continue to change.  On the PCT, the need to adapt has never ceased, and as frustrating as that can feel in the moment, it also something I have really enjoyed- the constant challenge.

I adjusted my attitude, and decided I was going to enjoy the climb no matter what.  I continued on, step by step.  Because that's that's all you can do out here.  Finally, I made it to a campsite with a nice, if partially obscured view of Castle Craigs, and set up my hammock and watched the sun set.  My last sunset on the PCT for this year.  Ahhh!
Last night on the PCT.

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