The day started out so good.
I slept! At least in spurts. I would roll over and think…I must have been dreaming, that was one hell of a dream…then stare at the stars a while, and drift off again.
The stars were gone by the time morning came…obviously, but the sky clouded up in the early morning hours. I made coffee and enjoyed my open air breakfast. Nothing beats a good cowboy camp.
I thought I would try my shoes this morning as there were miles of granite rocky terrain ahead…and it was manageable! I may just be able to pull this off afterall!
The clouds made for a dramatic morning on the pale granite faces of rock and pocket lakes. I definitely remembered some of this terrain from 11 years ago. By the time I made it to Aloha Lake the wind had picked up and it was easier to keep moving than to lolly gag and enjoy the views.
I felt good and couldn’t help but think about finishing the CDT two years ago today. Ahhh, memories.
By the time I was approaching Echo Lake I was ready for a sit-down lunch. I figured the store was probably closed, but couldn’t help but hope…and wouldn’t you know it, yesterday it was open, today closed. I met knee, another PCT southbounder who was super bummed, but we found relief from the increasing wind on the side of the building and I ate lunch and made a mocha for moral.
I swore off the internet for this hike, but made an exception for weather, and saw there was a 20% chance of showers this afternoon and evening. I could tell from the wind and clouds, but 20% is not much, right? Onward!
The climb up and out was a rocky boulder-field and I definitely remembered this section. It started to drizzle so put on my rain coat and trash bag skirt. My gortex socks made for too tight of a situation on my painful feet, so opted for the socks and luna look. I knew the socks would get wet, but I had a dry pair for the sleeping bag.
Soon it was raining for real and I pulled out my trusty Silver Shadow (Six Moon Designs Umbrella I designed the logo for!).
Then raining harder, then pouring. Straight up pouring.
I contemplated setting up camp early when a few other hikers came up. Soaking wet. They mentioned the rain was supposed to turn to snow…and pushing on to Showers Lake would be a drop in elevation…maybe a good idea?
I surveyed the spongy forest floor and decided to follow their direction and keep hiking.
Oh! Showers Lake! I remember you. I got lost trying to find my way around you.
I was ready to camp. Soaking wet, my umbrella had saved me, but I knew I had minutes before hypothermia would set in. Most of the ground was puddle, so I tried to find a higher spot. I quickly set up camp, just barely staying dry. Only my sleeping bag was dry….the line between security and disaster is so thin.
I managed to start my stove in the driving rain and maker a hot dinner. I kept an eye on the growing puddle outside my tarp with dread.
If it kept raining this hard much longer I would be in the puddle. I would be screwed. Rain to snow to doom.
I finally decided I had to move.
I tried not to freak out, and tried to keep as dry as possible, but that was pretty much impossible.
I found a spot near by, not exactly flat, but farther away from the massive puddles forming everywhere.
But my stuff got wet. My down sleeping bag was wet in spots, damp all over. As soon as I had everything set up again, the rain turned to snow. I was uncontrollably shivering. I knew I would make it, but it would suck. Suck bad.
I was unable to stretch out because of the panicked way I set up again. I could only be in the fetal position. It was agony.
I checked my phone to see if I had reception, and called Kirk to have him talk me down. Then I listened to podcasts to keep my mind off the situation. The very real situation.
About 3:30am, I thought I might be able to sleep so turned off the 3 hour Tim Ferris podcast I was listening to and actually got a few hours of rest.