Snow Lake to Lake of the Woods Highway

Posting from Trail

It has been very difficult to post my daily blogs on this PCT trip so far. Signal is spotty at best and many of the trail towns either do not have Wi-Fi or it’s slow and only available near the main offices. Slow data drains the phone battery and forces me to stay in a single spot, neither of which can be tolerated for long.

Imagine you only had 15 minutes of slow access to the internet and calling every 3 or 4 days. What would you prioritize over everything else? Text your friends? Call your family? Post to your blogs?

Yet another military comparison here… we used to get 15 minutes of call time a week when I was in Pakistan. The British girlfriend was never at home, was usually able to catch up with a best friend or my mum though. We had no idea what was going on in the world and we didn’t have much capacity to care. Whether on military deployment or a long-distance hike, matters of immediate concern are defined by the environment around us.

If my phone can catch a bar or two of service, I am generally able to get a few texts out and a blog post in about 15 minutes. Blog posts from the PCT have gotten a bit more complex with the two sites I’m writing for and the pictures I want to upload into them. Someday, someday, I’ll have simultaneous access to internet and beer. This will be a good day.

The Physical

It should not come as a surprise to hear Brianna and I slept in this morning. Sleep came easy after our 27-mile day and we both slept as hard as we ever have on trail. The 22 miles we planned for today were mostly flat and water would be available every 10 miles or so, why rush?

Physically, I’m feeling well.

Brianna has been applying CBD lotion to my skin rash and the sores are almost completely gone.

My feet are holding up well, just a few blisters. The bigger foot problem I’m having is bigger feet! It’s funny and it’s true… 😆 Last year, my feet puffed up on the Ice Age Trail, causing me to need a size 11 instead of a 10.5. On the PCT, I started with a size 11 and it now appears I’ll be needing an 11.5. This kind of foot growth is common for long-distance hikers and should be my last bump up in sizes… Walking downhill for miles in shoes that are too small causes a lot of problems. Toenails turn black, crack, and fall off. Toe skin rubs against the shoe and opens friction wounds. Getting new shoes in a few days!

The Mental

Mentally, I’m not doing so well. The heat wave is crushing. Morning and evening hikes are our only saving graces. Between 12pm-3pm is stupid uncomfortable. Remember that time when you were going to play in the garden but decided to stay inside for some Netflix and Chill instead because it was too hot? That’s what we are doing from 12pm-3pm, “creekside and chill.” It’s tough for me to watch the lots of hikers pass us on our extended breaks like it’s tough for you to watch weeds growing in that garden you aren’t going out to tend.

You have air conditioning, we have cold creek water. You have Netflix, we have conversations with random hikers. These are actually over glamorizations of the truth… sometimes we have warm lake water that tastes of fish and dead leaves. Sometimes we do not see or have meaningful conversations with other humans for several days.

Hiking is more difficult than it is fun and it’s only fun because the difficult times make normal seem awesome. It’s kind of sad if I think about it. I have never lived in a house without running water or electricity. The only way for me to appreciate these things is to deny myself of them? It’s also amusing to think that I’m ok living without running water, electricity, or a toilet, but this same blog post starts with me bitching about slow-to-no internet access.

With only 1 more day left of the heatwave, we are going to do fewer miles tomorrow. Only 56 more miles until we flip back up to northern Washington.

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