Day 35: The Hardest Five Miles

May 19, 2017: Hiked Miles 566.4 to 583.3 (16.9 total)

Sleeping in a bed is so amazing. I didn’t get to bed until about midnight, but I didn’t wake up once until about 5:15. On the trail I sleep more hours, but wake up all night long. I forced myself back to sleep for about an hour and then woke up wide awake and started texting and emailing trail angels to see if we could get a ride back to the trail. One girl responded that she could, and even offered to pick us up at our hotel and take us to the post office first so we could mail our resupply package ahead. Eventually I started making enough noise that Colton was forced to get up. We packed up all our stuff, ate breakfast in our room, attempted to watch the news which apparently Channing Tatum’s new live Magic Mike show is worthy of morning news, and stole the rest of the toilet paper for the trail.  

Our trail angel, Jenny (great name), picked us up and took us to the post office. She said we were her first hikers she’d picked up this year. She drove us back to the trailhead and wouldn’t even accept gas money despite having to drive over 30 miles to come get us and drive us around. People are just so giving, it blows my mind. The generosity I have encountered on this trail is definitely one of the best aspects of the whole hike.

We thanked her immensely and said goodbye.

The morning started out with a long, steady climb, but we felt good and conquered it quickly. We gained a lot of elevation and were back in the trees. I guess technically this is the start of the Sierras, geologically speaking, but it’s still warm and looks more or less like the desert to me. 

Our legs and feet felt good, but for some reason my back felt really achey. I do have a full food bag, but it’s definitely not more than I have carried before. I figured I was just getting used to a half day without a pack yesterday, so we pushed on.

I think we have finally got in front of the huge hiker bubble we were stuck in. We only saw four other hikers during the day until we reached camp, which is way less than normal.  

We stopped for lunch and took a long break, neither one of us wanting to move after finding comfortable spots on the ground. 

But eventually the gnats wouldn’t leave us alone so we got up and kept hiking. And what did we come upon? More windmills of course!

We crested another mountain and finally got a view of a new valley. 

We always get excited about a new view. 

And then of course we saw more windmills. 

A couple miles after lunch I started feeling kind of weird. It was a warm day, but not that hot and I felt like I couldn’t cool down, get hydrated, or get enough oxygen into my lungs. The hiking was still relatively easy and my legs felt good, but my back started hurting even more. Colton stopped to adjust something on his pack and I tried to have him pop my back which didn’t work so he tried to massage my shoulders for a second and I had an emotional breakdown. Everything ached so bad and I felt so weak and just had this really sick, toxic feeling. I cried for awhile, trying to breathe and calm myself down and Colton helped by rubbing my shoulders for a few minutes. But we still had five miles to get to our water source so I forced us on. The next five miles should have been very easy hiking, but it was the hardest five miles I have ever hiked. Every step, my pack cut more and more into my spasming back muscles, I had a crazy headache, my arms were cramping, I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and every uphill made we want to puke. 

Eventually we somehow made it to the creek and I threw my pack off and did my best to not throw a fit. We got our tent set up and I put all my clothes on since I was freezing even though everyone else was still in shorts. I layed in the tent for a bit while Colton filtered water and tried to ease my pain. Eventually I got up and splashed some cold water on my neck and face which helped, tried to puke, which didn’t work, and attempted to act like a normal person. Even though I wasn’t hungry I knew I needed to eat so I forced myself to make some mashed potatoes and chicken top ramen. The food actually helped and I started to feel a little better, but still fairly weak.

I don’t know if my body is fighting off a bug or virus or if it is trying to detox from all the crap I ate the past few days. I definitely went overload on sugar the past couple days on the trail because hiker hunger is finally starting to consume my appetite, and while we were in town I had Mexican food, McDonald’s, an IPA and a Snickers ice cream bar. I also ate some watermelon this morning that didn’t completely taste right (I should have figured something was up when Colton gave me most of it). And we have been adding those Propel and Green Tea packets to our water every day which have fake sugar in them to make them light, which I know extended consumption of that crap can do crazy things to your body. And to top it all off we had a complicated/semi-stressful day yesterday trying to get everything in town done and I didn’t get much sleep. And I got a lot of sun yesterday. So I’m thinking that I pretty much just poisoned/taxed my body too hard, especially with all this food it’s not used to. I’m going to try and get a lot of sleep tonight (and not eat any junk food!) and pray I feel better in the morning.

On a more positive note, Colton caught a frog at our water source,

On a not-so-positive note, the rest of the frogs won’t stop croaking, so it might be another sleepless night. 

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