Washington PCT Section I
2369 to 2347
22 very wet miles
Rain all day long. No breaks. It is heavy unrelenting and cold.
The cold freezes all happiness and the greyness starts to fill me with hopelessness. One tries many techniques to raise ones spirits. I pass many nobos wearing headphones to escape. I don't want to escape. My goal is be present. So I try to let the rain soak through me and not let it get me down, just run over me all zen. I follow streams of water running down trail and try to be one with the water, but this doesn't work either I just feel stupid for being out here in the cold.
I figure I need to try another technique to get my spirits up. I try to think about the big picture, or at least my understanding of rain. How water molecules cycle through over and over getting to travel for miles and have so many adventures- maybe a water molecule starts out as pika pee and ends up in an alpine lake and then evaporates to a cloud over Mount Rainier only to fall as snow and get stuck in a glacier for years and then melts in a stream is drunk by a hiker. Its actually quite amazing if you think about it. This line of thinking makes me less resentful of precipitation.
|Precipitation, condensation, percolation, perspiration, urination, transpiration-- it's all right here! The water cycle in action!|
At the state park where I spent the past two summers, teaching about the water cycle was one of my favorite field trip programs. The third graders make up skits to act out the water cycle and the kids would roll down the grassy hill pretending to be water in a stream and wiggle their hands pretending to be rain. Then they would all laugh and giggle. I try to think about that joy that kids have when they are being silly and it starts to warms my heart a tiny bit more and gets me through a few more miles. I don't know if this kind of reminiscing is not being present and escaping or whatever but I decide I don't care anymore. I am desperate for something to cheer me up.
The umbrella provides protection from rain but no warmth. That's where the poncho comes in. Turtle Mode, my highly advanced hiker technique, is putting the poncho above your head like making your very own sheltered home and its a little warm if you breathe out and trap the hot air, just lacking in views. But I can get into my pack without getting rain inside my pack which is what makes Turtle Mode such an advanced brilliant maneuver.
I allow one break all day to sit in turtle mode balancing my pack in my feet, poncho over my head spooning peanut butter into my mouth. For a moment I am almost warm. I wonder if anyone passes me on trail while I am huddled like this in the trees. I cant hear anything but rain. Maybe my dream hiking partner just walked by and I missed them.
|Jan took this photo of me in Turtle Mode last week.|
An hour later I meet a northbounder named Mary Poppins who is carrying an umbrella. We stop and chat and I ask her if there are any other southbounders and if my dream hiking partner is walking right in front of me but I never catch up because we are so perfectly hiking at the same pace. She says there is no one, dream or otherwise, close in front of me. But we get to talking and she is so super friendly and says I should come hike north with her and her friend and it is tempting but I decide to just keep going on.
In the afternoon, the wind gusts are so strong I have to take down my umbrella. What am I doing up so high on these exposed ridge? Oh that's why they call it the crest trail.
I am worried about the wind driving rain into my hammock, but see a grove of trees way down so I dart down the hill way off he pct and there is no wind (yet) so I hope it will protected enough to keep me safe.