Days 80-87 (mi. 1090 to 1265.4)

Since leaving the Sierras, the trail has been fast and a whooooole lot less snowy. And as we creep toward Oregon, the trail has proven itself to be even more spectacular than I expected. Gosh I love this trail!!

Day 80: Hwy 50 (mi. 1090) to Mi. 1113.5

I left my Subway sandwich in the motel room!!!!! Boooo!! That's 90% of what I thought about today. So frustrating. I planned on eating it midway up today's major Pass, but had to settle for peanut butter/salami tortilla wraps. Not a terrible alternative, but definitely not Turkey + American on Italian Herbs and Cheese with allllll the veggies.

Something weird happened today. After lunch, I began hiking and almost passed out. Everything started spinning and I started to lose vision. After taking a quick break, I resumed hiking and all was good. I really wish my body could just tell me what's going on all the time.

Last thing- today Gold Digger and Come Thou Fount came on my Spotify back-to-back. If that's not an adequate representation of my life, I don't know what is. Day 81: Mi. 1113.5 to Squaw Valley Ski Lift (Mile 1140.5)

Today was a long day of hiking... 27! miles... snow, mtns, naps, etc. yadda yadda yadda. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, LOOK AT MY CAMPING SPOT!! 

I camped on a Black Diamond run right on the edge of a big drop here at Squaw Valley. And holy cow. Just look at it. There are views of Lake Tahoe to the southeast and a complete 360° heavenly vista. Wowowowow.

[wpvideo TbQpo0Jn] And then the sun set and I lost my mind. In hindsight, it reminds me of Simone Byles (yes, the Olympian). Remember her floor routine that was absolutely incredible and it had everyone in an a hypnotic state? And then she did her signature move at the end and everyone went from WOA to I CANT HANDLE THE EMOTIONS. That's what this sunset was like.  Our God is so stinking creative and is incredibly intentional on the subject of light. He uses it to illuminate (duh, Andrew) things around us, but also parts of ourselves that we might not have put a light to. Exposure is so necessary. It's where growth comes, ya know?

Anyway. This campsite is definitely #1. It beats everything. Day 82: Squaw Valley Ski Lift (Mile 1140.5) to Mi. 1170.5

"Please not Pepsi. Please not Pepsi. please not Pep- yesss!!"

These were my thoughts around 1:45, as I reached my first break, a little reststop on I-80, after 17 miles of hiking.

A short walk from trail, the vending machines were something briefly mentioned in the guide books, along with flush toilets and water fountains. I had been dreaming about a fizzy Coke since yesterday, and this. was. my. moment. 

The machine was slim pickins- only five options left. I found the code for Coke and pressed it on.

"E-3," I muttered as I pressed the keys. "Out of stock."

That's funny. There are at least 6 bottles of Coke right there. My finger must've slipped. "E-3." "Out of stock."

Okayyyy, let's try the Mellow-Yellow. I've never had one, but fizz is fizz. "D-6," I pressed in, reminded of a losing game of Battleship. "Out of stock."

Unsweet tea it is. "A1" "Out of stock."

My last options were water (lol- get that for free outside) and an expensive Starbucks Frapuccino drink. Cheers, Starbucks. "A-3."

"Vending" For some reason, this story felt important to share. I had knocked out a solid 17 miles before lunch, all with the mid-day reward of Coke and a restful place. In the end, there was no Coke but only a ton of muggles hopping in and out of their vehicles. There was a woman selling necklaces, and a family that looked to be in the middle of a family roadtrip fight. 

Classic.

Around 2:45, I set off to check off an additional 13 miles. But. Oh my goodness. The chafing is back and with a whole new edition (this is the 2nd time I've referred to my buttocks' chafing as Slim Shady in my blogs. not sorry). Whimpering, I sat down on a log and took far more than the recommended dose of Advil, applied some anti-chafe stuff, and kept hauling. I ALMOST turned around to hitch into town and rest, but NOPE. For some reason my feet heading North. Dang feet.

The irritation didn't suppress, but the pain wasn't as blinding. Yay!

Today I passed well over a dozen SOBONOBOs. This is a term I coined for the people that reached the Sierra, bailed, flipped up North to NorCal or Oregon, and have started walking South. Southbound Northbounders. SOBONOBOs.

I recognized the 10th? one I passed as a hiker I hiked about 2 miles with on the 2nd day. Woa. But just down the trail, I crossed paths with Maria, a girl I'd really gotten to know on Night 1, but haven't seen or heard of since." "Hey there!"

"Hi! Have a good on- OHMYGOSH!"

"Wait. ANDREW!!"  I haven't seen Maria in 2.5 months, just about 1200 miles ago. We caught up like we were besties, swapping stories about the few people we knew in common.

Here's a test: remember Jordan? I hiked near him Day 1 and 2. He was hiking with his mom, Trudy? Maria told me Jordan pushed through the Sierras, but fell coming down Sonora Pass earlier this week. Jordan broke a leg and had to be helicoptered out. Holy smokes, poor guy.

Maria and I wished each other luck on the trail (she's about to do the Sierras. wowzers. kindasortanotreally wish I were doing them too) and headed to finish our NOBO and SOBONOBO evenings.

Today was good. I bagged a 30 (first one in 500 miles!) and ate far too much candy. Now I will reward myself with water and a bit more Harry Potter before turning in. Also, I'm not setting an alarm. I hiked 30 miles today. I deserve it. Day 83: Mi. 1170.5 to 1196.4

Today was 25 miles of walking downhill. Yep. How crazy is that?!?

The long descent didn't take too long, and I ended up in the small town of Sierra City, with juuuuuust enough time to grab some snacks, some mail, and a 1lb burger with fries and a Coke.

While I stuffed my face with an alarming amount of food, I opened up my packages: 

-A new drybag for camera + charger packs (I lost mine coming down Sonora Pass)

-A brand. new. pair. of. shoes.

-A care package from my friend (and BV's newest DJ) Maddie 

The shoes were gifted by a family friend (basically family) and WOW I've never been more excited for a pair of shoes. Mr. and Mrs. Mojica, thank you thank you. These kicks will be a continued a reminder of your support and encouragement in my life. Can't wait to hike these next several hundred mikes together! 

Maddie, thank you for the goods. Especially the fidget spinner. This is friendship. This is community. Wow. Praise.

After dinner, I knew I would get sucked into the town vortex, so I skidaddled back up to the trail. Unfortunately, there was no place to camp (I immediately began a 10 mile hike back to elevation), so I made a little bivvy spot on the side of a switchback. TBD how well I sleep tonight.

PS- rereading the 5th Harry Potter now and DANG the difference between Book 2 and 5 are incredible. Character development, new themes, complicated plot..... SHOOT. This is my favorite. Also Deathly Hallows. Day 84: Mi. 1196.4 to 1221.7

Haha last night I threw up 3 times. I'm not sure what it was (okay, definitely the 1lb burger), but my brain felt FRIED for the rest of the night and then majority of this morning.

With the bit of sickness from last night, I took today slow. Sure, I still managed to pull a 25+ mile day, but it was accompanied by many breaks to nap and drink water.

Hiking solo brings great moments of solitude and time to think. However, I've been getting reeeeeally caught up in my own mind lately. In seems the ole brain doesn't want to slow down. It races endlessly. It wasn't until today where I just gave my mind up to the Lord and begged Him to be constructive with it.

The mind is a dangerous place. It can create new (and uproot former) insecurities. It can lead you to laziness, as well as annoyance. But with discipline, it can be tamed!! This doesn't really relate to the PCT at all, but that's what today was all about. Disciplining the mind, and orienting the heart, towards God and not myself. Cranking miles despite throwing up. Rationing tortillas because I misread the quantity count.

That's what it's all about. 

Also, passed 1200 today! Weeeee! Day 85: Mi. 1221.7 to mi. 1252.5 

Today I hiked 31 miles so that I can get to the pizza buffet when it opens tomorrow.

But it felt great!! It was tough at times.... and the last few miles seemed to crawl... but I rolled into camp just in time. Annnnnd guess who was at my tentsite?

Monk!!

Monk and I hiked a bit of the desert and Sierra together. Oh it was SO fun to see a familiar face. What a guy. Day 86: Mi. 1252.5 to Quincy (mi. 1265.4)

Holy guacamole. After yesterday's hike, I am in PAIN. And not just ouch-that-hurts-but-I'm-chill pain... but oh-no-this-might-take-me-off-trail pain. My achilles is pretty inflamed and my left foot just doesn't look too great. I'm 90% sure I'll have to Zero in Quincy to let it rest. On the bright side, these high mile days got me to the pizza buffet JUST in time. All you can eat salad + pizza. That's the hiker's dream.

I'll keep you updated on the ol' heel. I really hope it's aight. Day 86: Zero in Quincy

I'm sick of zeros!!! I just wanna hike! Boo, ankle. Boooooooo. Also, laundry. Yuck. Peace out until next time!

AG