Friday, June 22, 2012

Jun 22 - One Month on the Trail Today!

I have been on the trail for one month, 31 days.  I can't believe my adventure is moving so fast.  Time is just slipping by and I want it to last!  Today was another exciting day of hiking; each day seems to get better and better.  Jason, who I met at Hiker Heaven, caught up with me and tented here last night but I didn't notice till this morning.  Today the wind is unbelievable.  Found a way to make a chin strap for my sun hat but I have to still hike with my head down and facing into the wind.  I am afraid I'll take off into the air like "The Flying Nun".  Sometimes I even have to put my poles sideways, at an angle of 35 degrees into the wind, to keep from blowing sideways as I hike.  It's like hiking in a tornado but it makes it very exciting and you don't notice the heat that much.  There are lots of warnings that hikers get ill after leaving this section and to be careful about the water but I don't think that's the problem.  I think it's the wind and terrain.  The water sources are mostly springs and the water caches are unlikely the problem.  But the high winds, dry ground, and cow dung are everywhere.  Everything (people, clothes, and gear) are covered with dust and we are all coughing up dust.  I think people get sick from the cow shit blowing around everything: in our food, on our bodies, and in our mouths!  It's not from not filtering water.

This afternoon I started climbing up Skinner Peak in unbelievable wind - totally amazing!!!  It was like being hit with a freight train.  At one point the trail rounded a false summit and made a sharp hairpin turn of a switch-back.  As you came around the false summit the wind hit you full force.  I had my head and body bent down in the wind and crested the knob, passing the turn by 30 feet before I realized I was past the trail turn.  I almost couldn't climb back the 30 feet in the wind - almost crawling to make the bend around the mountain to get back on trail.  A very great day of exciting hiking and views!  I did end up hiking over 30 miles because you never wanted to stop long in the wind - why do I do this to myself?  Hope I didn't mess up my feet again - but I feel pretty good.  Perhaps I'm finally toughening up my feet.  The wind is still gusting in my high, but slightly wind protected, camp spot I found just before mile 639.

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