PCT Day 72: JMT Day 9

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Creek (60.3) – Creek (62.7) – Red’s Meadow (59.2): 5.9 miles / 658.5 total miles walked

I guess sometimes you just have to admit defeat. No matter how much you may want something to happen, sometimes it’s smarter to listen to your gut feeling than to push through and potentially endanger yourself.

I woke up around 5 as usual, and it was freezing cold. We still packed up and moved out, climbing steadily for a while. I could hear Sink coughing up a lung behind me the whole time, and even though I was wearing two layers, I was still cold.

I stopped to chat to Harry, a retired Park Ranger, and he said his water bladder had frozen overnight. I believe that!

I waited for Sink to show up and we sat in the sun, trying to get warm. It was by now almost 10:30am, I was wearing my warm layers, standing in full sunlight, and my teeth were chattering from the cold. There’s something seriously worrying about that situation. Hypothermia danger is a real thing. So we sat down and had an honest talk about our goals, and abilities, and fears. Because once we’d be past Muir Trail Ranch (1.5-2 days ahead) we’d be OUT THERE… Without any realistic chance of bailing out if shit got critical. And it was only going to get colder.

It was a hard decision to make, because I had really wanted to see the High Sierra, that magical place every PCT hiker talks about. But i guess it wasn’t meant to be, at least not now.

So after we had agreed that we would bail out of the cold and make our way to some warmer sections of the PCT, we walked back to Red’s Meadow. Somehow, backtracking always goes by faster than moving forward….by the time I made it my left foot was in some serious pain though. What is going on there?

I waited for Sink to show up and we got a ride back down to Mammoth Lakes from a nice young couple. They dropped us off at our motel (I had booked on the way down) and since we were starving, we headed across the street for some Mexican food. And it was delicious.

The rest of the day was spent figuring out our next steps, like where to go and how to get there…..and of course some TV and beer. Hopefully the change in temperature will boost our morale and get me back on track for Mexico.

Keeping you posted…

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