The Sierras have been beautiful with the snow capped mountains, rushing rivers, amazing views and challenging terrain. But I am ready to move on. This has been the toughest section yet. I’ve dealt with nutrition issues, exhaustion and now a sprained ankle. Yea that happened.
Last Friday 3 miles from camp we had to ford a river. The PCT is always throwing some obstacle in your way. Fording rivers is NOT something I like to do. So instead of wading through thigh deep water I tried to cross on a log. Bad idea. I slipped stepping onto it, and fell thank god not in the river. The pain was awful(I heard the crack) but I still had to cross and now I was scared. Yep and crying. (rushing water+ wet shoes +wet log=bad fall)
But hikers help each other and the guy crossing before me came back, took my pack across, then talked me across, holding my hand as I flung myself from the log to a rock then the other side. The hiking community is made up of some special people. Without his help I might still be there balling.
I limped on to camp hoping this was not a trip ending injury. Laying in my tent that night I decided it wouldn’t be. Heck we were 2 days into 7 day stretch, only one way out, I would have to hike 33 miles just to get to a road. ( being air lifted out just didn’t seem right for a sprain) A retired hiking doctor, Sweeper, taped my ankle.
So my plan was to limp/hike 10 slow miles a day, over Sonora Pass out to a road and hitch to town. Easy, well so it seemed. Except day 1, I took a wrong turn and limp/hiked 3 miles in the wrong direction! Suffice it to say I had a huge breakdown in the middle of nowhere and didn’t get very far that day. I managed day 2 without getting lost, figured out a way to limp/hike faster and made up some miles! Day 3 my confidence buoyed by the thoughts of being somewhere warm and off my ankle that night. I was making great progress stopping occasionally at snow fields to stuff snow in my sock!
Coming over the last snowy pass I knew I would make it! I could see the road from the summit! I could also see the trail winding off around ANOTHER mountain! No I thought, that’s so far. That’s when I made the oh so brilliant choice to-leave-trail, and make a bee line to the road. I could slide down the snow (glissading, way better than limping), cross the wooded field and be there in no time. So off I went. Bad Idea.
PSA: Never leave the trail, especially if you are injured and nobody knows where you are!
After quickly sliding down the mountain I realized the error of my ways. The small wooded field was by no means small and there was a steep drop off between me and said field. DOH! With the sun dropping quickly I couldn’t bring myself to climb back up so I continued on. I found a way down but I would first have to cross a stream of rushing snow melt. Great! Remember that fear of stream crossing I mentioned. After some crying and beating myself up I forded that freezing stream wonky ankle and all. Bushwhacking the whole way I finally made it through that ‘small’ wooded field and up to the highway! After an hour of hitching I finally got a ride from a super nice dude into Bridgeport!
Headed to S Tahoe to rest my ankle then back on trail! I’m going to Canada…only 1004 miles to go…..