May 17, 2015
Campsite at Mission Creek Crossing (226.3) to Campsite near Coon Creek Cabin (246.4)
20.1 PCT miles today
259.5 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 5,907 ft, – 1,248 ft
There was unanimous agreement among all the hikers that today was HARD. We “only” had to do 20 miles today so we slept in a bit and got a slightly later start, assuming that the miles would fly by like they were doing for the last week. We knew there was some climbing to be done, but we had completely underestimated the elevation gain and environment. We literally spent the entire day climbing from the desert floor at 3,000 feet of elevation to the forest at over 8,000 feet. To be honest, today was the first day where I just wanted to call it quits and have a seat and never walk again. Fortunately Pickles would have none of that and he kept me going with his sense of humor and charm. Overall he felt better off, but he still agreed that it was one of the hardest days yet.
It was mostly my feet that made my day so hard; they hurt worse today than ever before. I woke this morning to swollen feet (they finally fit in my oversized shoes!) and every step of the long desert climb was painful. I could tell that my body was still angry with me from the last couple days of hiking, but I also knew that we needed to get these miles out of the way if we were going to make it to our zero in Big Bear.
Misery loves company, and we definitely weren’t alone is our day’s struggle. We seem to be around a new group of people now (with a couple of the old regulars) and we leap-frogged with a few other couples and groups all day long, sharing in one another’s exhaustion and encouraging each other along. We do know that it could have been a lot worse, and we really should be grateful. We had temps in the 70’s all day with light cloud cover in the afternoon, and it’s a good thing because I’m just not sure I would have made it in the heat.
But made it we did. Tomorrow’s 20 miles to Big Bear should be much more manageable and I think now we’ll really feel like we’ve earned that zero. Plus, we’re back in the forest which makes everything better. Nothing makes us happier than pine cones, sweeping vistas, and tall trees.