Today’s hike was the hardest on me so far. Truly a brutal day.
I started at 5am in the coolness of the morning. It was still dark, so I used my headlamp until light enough to see. I started descending and the trail wasn’t too bad. My first goal was the water fountain in 12 miles and I figured I could make that in four hours.
Then the trail went to hell. That 9-10 miles of Fuller Ridge trail was awful; it would disappear for 10-20ft at a time, or it had collapsed and there WAS no trail. Over and over. I was trying to make time so I wouldn’t be in the plains at noon.
It took six hours. That was just for for the 12 miles to water. The heat hit about 7:30am and got progressively worse. There was no shade on the east facing ridge. So after tanking up at the water fountain, I started the last five miles to Ziggy’s just after 11:00am.
After a 0.5 mile walk down the paved access road, I entered this massive flood plain; Nothing but sand and short scrub brush for the next 2.5 miles. And the heat. The PCT markers every 200-500ft the only guide. I started calling this section the “Blasted Plain”, and I was certain Mount Doom was just around the corner.
It could have been worse, because I had my umbrella! I thanked God I had the foresight to carry the damned thing. I honestly think it made that section even possible. As it was, I was very, very slow since I expended so much energy on the Ridge. The plains were HOT and the sand was difficult to hike in. I finally pulled into Ziggys at 1:30, wrung out and exhausted.
The cold Gatorade I was handed was inhaled. Then I bought a Pepsi and I didn’t quite chug it. But it was the shower that brought me back. I was closer to heat stroke than I have ever been. The thermometer on the wall said 101 degrees.
I’m sitting in my bathing suit and I haven’t the energy to examine my feet yet. I did hand wash my socks and shirt and they are hanging on the line to dry. (It’s been 20 mins…they’ll likely be dry already 😓) Here is the fountain and the view where I have to hike to today. Ziggy’s is one of the last houses in the distance.
Here is Ziggy’s backyard. There are maybe 25-30 hikers here right now. She makes you sign in and my “number” is 554. That’s how many people have been through here since March. I just peeked and number 567 is signing in now. They expect 2000+ for the season…