Week 2: Highest of Highs and Lowest of Lows

Howdy howdy everyone. I’ve now been on trail for almost 2 weeks! I realized I forgot to put why last week was such a change. Other than starting the PCT, I also graduated college! So that’s why it was such a big change. Anyways let’s get on about this week.

Similar to the first day, I have been experiencing some loneliness. I do get to camp with others and hang out at break spots with others, but hiking is done mainly alone. I have had some social hiking, which has been amazing! For example I got to hike out of Julian with a group of people and hiked specifically with someone named Togo. I celebrated 100 miles with my friend Nicolo. I also hiked a few other miles with some other friends as well. Towards the end of the week though, I did a lot of solo hiking which was hard mentally. Singing songs or calling my family on the phone really helps with hiking alone. Listening to podcasts helps a little too. I will probably have to slow down to find a solid group to hike with. Let’s break down the week.

Day 6

100 miles!! Wooo!! I was pretty stoked to hit 100 miles. The longest trip I had ever done prior to this was like 85-90 miles while I was in Boy Scouts. I also hiked 22 miles today, which was huge. I was moving pretty fast in the morning. I hiked 12 miles in around 4ish hours. I think I could’ve done it in under 4 hours, but my foot started to hurt and I had to slow down. There’s a place called the Third Gate Water Cache which was a real blessing. Some trail angels bring countless gallons of water to this part of the trail and it is a great spot to take a siesta. I got to see a lot of people here today and it felt nice. Camp was at this really cool spring. It would’ve been a really cool campsite had I not lost my tent stakes. Yeah that was unfortunate. I used some rocks but it was a really poor pitch. My tent was also soaked in the morning. Overall a good day though.

Montezuma Market!

Day 7

This was a pretty chill day. I got to have a nice late start because I went into Montezuma Market. My goal was to buy more tent stakes and eat an apple. I have been thinking of eating an apple since day 3 at Mount Laguna. Fortunately Montezuma carried tent stakes. Phew. To get there, we crammed like 7 people and a driver in a Honda CRV. I think that was the car. It was pretty cramped but it was a fun little car ride. I was the first one to leave the market because I had a box at Warner Springs. This was a cool section of trail. There was a lot of grassland and cows. Eagle Rock is another cool part of this trail. I would recommend every hiker to see it. Warner Springs was a real treat. I got to do some laundry and take a nice hot bucket shower. It felt amazing. Me and some friends hiked another 3 miles to camp. This might’ve been the prettiest 3 miles I have ever hiked.

Day 8

Another big day. 20 miles of hiking. It was not too hard tho. There was some climbing but there was also some downhill which was nice. The worst part of today was all the flies. They were brutal. So terrible. I hate them just as much as the caterpillars. To be honest, I thought they were attacking me personally because I had my socks and underwear drying outside my pack. I was happy to later learn that everyone experienced the flies attack on hikers. Lunch was quite nice. It was at this trail angels property called Mikes Place. We didn’t get to meet Mike, but we did meet one of his friends who gave us oranges and tasty drinks. Mikes Place has these massive water tanks. They are much appreciated since they break up a long dry section. I learned how good tuna packets with sunflower oil taste. Way better than any other tuna packet. *chefs kiss*. We had to do lots of bushwhacking to get to camp. I’m surprised my legs are not covered in scabs from all the over grown trail. Camp was pretty windy but there was good company.

Mary’s Place

Day 9

Guess what! Another 20 mile day! Back to back 20’s make my body tired and my feet hurt. The hiking was relatively easy though. There were some questionable water sources today. One supposedly had a metallic taste and another just looked really gross. I chose to avoid both. This decision resulted in a long water carry to Mary’s Place. Trail Angels are such a big help to us hikers. Something unfortunate happened on this day. Heartbreaking one might say. I had to dig a cat hole. I have been trying my best to only poop in actual bathrooms. I lasted 143 miles. There was a little competition between some of us who started on the 18th on who would poop on trail last. I lasted the longest! As a result I got the trail name Hold Out!! I’m pretty happy to get a trail name. The end of the day was really nice. I had a nice dinner and shake at Paradise Valley Cafe and got to sleep on a camper van floor of this amazing trail Angel named Richard. He had a really cool house and some cool pets. 10/10 would recommend staying at Richards Place.

Day 10

This is where things got hard. The morning started off nice hanging out with lots of hikers at Richards Place and getting a ride to the trail. I started hiking with a few other hikers, but that quickly went away. The scenery was absolutely beautiful. The landscape quickly transformed from desert to pines. It was so lovely. I wasn’t bothered by the solo hiking for most of the day. At about 1:30pm, my left foot/ankle began to give me some issues. I really really slowed down. The rest of the day was both a physical and mental battle. It was arguably one of the hardest days of my life. I guess it was a good thing I was alone so that no one heard me panic a couple times. I really wanted to go home. This was my first time ever camping alone. It wasn’t that bad to be honest. I think I was so tired I wasn’t even worried about mountain lions. This area prior to my camp was filled with downed trees and widow makers. It was really a tough place to hike. I was practically doing parkour.

Things that make me do parkour

Day 11/12

In the morning of the day 11, I hiked about 2 miles of trail and about 5 miles off trail. Again, filled with downed trees making me do parkour. I am fortunate that I live close to the trail so that my family could pick me up! Man I was so excited and happy to see them. We got off trail and went to Idyllwild for the day. We got to spend the night in this cool cabin. It felt amazing to sleep in a real bed. Day 12 was spent trying to figure out what was wrong with my ankle/foot. I am guessing I have Achilles tendinitis. It felt really nice getting to take the day off. My ankle is still really sore though. I talked to the guy at Nomad Adventures in Idyllwild who gave me some really helpful information into why I am aching. It’s my shoes! No surprise since they are zero drop. Nomad Adventures didn’t have my size in other shoes so I actually went home to go to REI. I spent a long time finding the right shoe. I now will be wearing a pair of Hoka’s until my ankle feels better.

Deciding to go home for the day was a big emotional battle. It feels like I am quitting. I know I am not. But it just feels that way. The more time that went by, the easier it was to accept. This injury also really scares me. I have worked really hard to make my dream of hiking the PCT a reality. And it feels like it could end at any moment right now. It is a scary thing to me. I hope this new pair of shoes and some Super Feet will help my pain.

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Comments 2

  • val vitols : May 30th

    Hi Andy, can we catch up and do another interview? this time on Skype?

  • Sarah : Jun 4th

    Sorry you have run into some unexpected twists and turns. I hope your ankle feels better with your new footwear.


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