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Day 41: Learning How to Zero

Posted by on June 14, 2015

June 10, 2015
Kennedy Meadows (702.4)
0 miles today
715.4 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 0 ft, – 0 ft

Image 14

It turns out that I’m not very good at taking zeroes. They always turn out alright in the end, but the long hours off-trail tend to be filled with more stress and confusion than relaxation and fun. We desperately needed this zero, so if nothing else, I know we did right by our feet by spending most of the day off of them, and we are going to bed happy and satisfied, but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that just wanted to be back on the trail for much of the day.

This morning we indulged in an incredible breakfast at the same restaurant we went to for dinner last night. For less than $10 each, we were served eggs, bacon, hash browns, and all-we-could-eat fluffy pancakes. For Pickles, that meant 5 huge plate-sized hotcakes in addition to the rest of the food. The restaurant was packed full of hikers and we had a great morning making some new friends and talking “trail”.

When we got back to the general store some of my stress kicked in and I spent the middle bit of the day running around showering, doing some laundry, and driving Pickles and Mama Bear crazy with my insistence that there wasn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. Some of the stress came from the fact that we hadn’t had 4G or wifi in about a week and our to-do list was growing. We finally decided that it would be worth it for Pickles and I to drive toward Hwy 395 until we got service so we could at least order me some new Sierra shoes. It was an unexpected time-drain in an already busy zero day, but driving in the car helped me relax some and we were able to order me shoes that should arrive this week in Independence.

Image 10

We spent the rest of the afternoon going though our re-ration, packing up 6 days of food, fitting a bear canister into our packs, and buying anything we were missing from the store. Once that was done, I began to feel like I could finally relax. Mama Bear had brought chili cheese dog fixings, so we grilled up the hot dogs and had a fine dinner with a few of our good friends, including Mosey, Ellen Boxers, and Coppertone. We also passed around some sweet treats that I had gotten for my birthday, and then headed over to the big bonfire to roast some marshmallows.

Food is another problem that I encounter on zeros that I know I need to work on. On the trail, there are so few decisions to make and life is quite simple. But when we get off trail, life can quickly seem overwhelming. This is especially true when it comes to food. After being somewhat deprived for a week or so, everything sounds delicious and it is tempting to make up for lost time by eating everything you see. Unfortunately, this keeps happening to me when I’m off trail and it always leaves me feeling groggy and unhealthy. And just plain stuffed. In the off-trail days to come, I plan to indulge more in fruits, vegetables, sleep, and maybe some fun, and less in stress, sweets, and over-eating.

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