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PCT Days 116 - 123

Day 116

Back into the swing of things - humidity, hot weather and hills. Wasn’t too bad today but since I’ve decided to do a ten-day stint without stopping, I have a horrendously heavy rucksack. Worse, I’ve done my usual thing and overbought supplies. Once again, my tent is stuffed into a sack and hung outside my pack. Whenever I sit down to rest on a log or large boulder, I do sometimes wonder if I’ll get back up again. So far I’ve managed but I do make a lot of noise.

Day 117

I’m staying at Deer Creek. It even has its own resident deer. It keeps coming close to me - it doesn’t seem that afraid of humans. I can only hope it buggers off overnight - I don’t want that scaring me silly, especially as I’m alone once again.

Day 118

Resident Deer did not bugger off. In fact, she circled my tent all night. I did manage to sleep solidly once I’d dropped off, but she did wake me first thing - impatient, no doubt, for my first pee - deer go crazy for urine I’ve learnt.

Unlike the one I had before bed last night, where I’d walked up the traiI, first thing this morning I figured not so far outside my tent would be fine. So I ate my breakfast and slurped my coffee, and the deer ate hers and slurped my pee. She was utterly unbothered by my human presence.

Day 119

As I was grinding my way up today’s six-mile hill, a hot, humid, but thankfully very well-shaded walk - I realised that somehow this morning I lost my hat. It was in my pocket waiting to go on my head.

I have always hated that hat - but it did have sun-shielding flappy bits which mostly worked, and it did have a peak, which also helped. Anyway, I lost it on the hottest day of the year. I piled on sunscreen, but alas I am nearly out of that too. With another week at least before I hit a town, this is not ideal but hey ho.

It seems my resupply strategy of a long haul, heavy pack, is paying off if I’m camped with Meadowlark, with his long legs and swift stride, and Jeff, the former ultra-marathon runner. For a change I have company of human variety. Interestingly, Meadowlark and I had crossed the 1,000 mile mark together. And today we crossed the 1,500 mark. What an achievement. Under 200 now to go before I leave California. Now that will be a milestone!

Day 120

You know you smell when even the flies piss off out of your tent. Aside from being very dusty, today I hauled my arse up a twelve-mile hill, having got up at five-thirty am to avoid the heat of the day. I then carried on for a further ten miles - on the hottest day of the year so far.

Glad it’s over and done with.

Day 121

It’s still blardy hot. Trying to get water from some of the springs is like trying to milk a bull. Otherwise whacked out another 24 miles again. I’m starting to get a handle on this hiking malarky.

Day 122

I managed to get 12 miles done by 12 o’clock - I think that’s the first time, at least the first time I’ve recorded that little stat. Partly helped by being spooked by the mooing of cows - they were in the valley and their bellowing reverberated around the hills, making the whole thing weirdly freaky. Lasted about 30 minutes but it was only the cow bells that gave them away, otherwise I’d think I was in the scene of a horror movie with appropriate musical score.

I’m not sure what I’m doing tomorrow - by the time I next type, I’ll either have done 17 miles, 25 miles or be holed up in a hotel in Etna...

Day 123

I’m in Etna. Sunburnt, walking like an octogenarian but otherwise happily ensconced in a hotel bed with a fresh strawberry milkshake, a large pizza and a coffee ladened with a ton of cream. One good thing about walking a gazillion miles is that one can eat as many calories as one likes - obviously one does have to be in a town for that to happen.

Checking in the mirror, I see my body is now cleaving fat laid down in 1987. I don’t think I ate enough cake before I came to get me to Canada...

Day off tomorrow. I say 'Day Off', I mean spending hours planning the supply strategy for Oregon, which is less than 100 miles away, and shopping for the next leg. And buying a new hat and some suncream.

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