I woke up, still alive!
Not trying to be melodramatic here, but that was definitely the worst night I’ve ever had on trail. Much worse than when I set myself on fire on the CDT.
I was determined to take the shortest route out, which was 5 miles on the PCT instead of the TRT. I made coffee, dug out my stuff from the frozen ground under the snow, and got myself ready.
It wasn’t bad! The sky was blue, and snow is much easier to deal with than rain. Snow, I love snow! My shoes were soaking wet, but I had my trusty gortex socks to keep my feet dry.
I hiked. There were no other footprints and I wondered what happen to those other hikers. At one point I turned around to see more snow clouds approaching, so then it became a race against the next snow storm.
I was on the PCT through beautiful snowy meadows, following another traveler’s prints by this point, a bobcat I think.
A few miles in, the lack of sleep and pure exhaustion got to me. I felt I couldn’t take another step, but had to, I had to get to Carson Pass. Just transcend the pain…
Each rise was not the road. Did they move it?
Finally I could hear cars, but the blasted trail paralleled it for a while. Oh the cruel, cruel trail.
Finally I was there. But not. The pullout to the ranger station I remembered was a bit further up the road, and I walked the highway shoulder practically in tears.
A car I had desperately tried to flag down had pulled over and I could see they were rearranging the car. I walked over and couldn’t speak for the tears.
I was crying for relief, for the kindness, for the pain of the last 12 hours. At last I was able to communicate, and Mark and Mary from Racine Wisconsin gave me a ride half way back to South Lake Tahoe. My trail angels. Literally.
I composed myself and stood on hwy 89 to hitch again, and after only a few minutes Paula stopped to pick me up. She knew. She had been there herself in the backcountry before and was ever so gracious. So grateful for those kind souls who pick up a half deranged girl from the side of the road.
Paula dropped me off at a cafe where I ate breakfast and the night immediately seemed incredibly far away.
I got a fancy hotel room, stayed in bed all day, realized my shin splint pain was due to a swollen leg, an injury that had occurred at some point….but rest. Time for rest.