And so I resume back at mile 162 and it is hot! Very hot! Worse, my pack is very heavy with eight days’ of food, and four and a half kilos of water. In fact, conditions are so much harder now, that I consumed a litre and a half of water in the first three miles! Thankfully able to refill not long after.
I only managed ten miles today - climbing to 6,800 feet. Tomorrow I start the really big ascents to 9,000 feet. But the most exciting thing about today: my new sleeping pad. So far it’s remained inflated for the entire hour my arse has been parked on it. Let’s hope it manages the night.
Did a rock climb. Fell on my arse. Walked eighteen miles, but only fifteen of them count because having to trek a three-mile round trip to get water doesn’t get me further north. Pah! Today was also the hottest day of the year - which makes the going quite tough.
Now camping in a hurricane. Have also learnt that having a hot cup of coffee at 8,000 feet is nearly impossible. But, all in all, not a bad day. Some lovely views.
Still, I’m on the trail, heading north and tomorrow I’m going to climb to 9,000 feet.
And it turns out the snow hasn’t cleared entirely on the route I’m on...
By 12:30, my arse had cushioned my sudden arrival on the ground so many times, I’d lost count. I postholed - my leg thrusting through the snow up to my hip more times than I could bear. I have invented an entirely new vocabulary of swear words.
The beginning of hell doesn't look so bad...
I was frustrated, sore and then I fell and twisted my ankle. I limped on for a bit. Then I tripped down the side of a fallen tree and scraped my shin badly. My trousers were sodden. My toes, numb and tingly for much of the time anyway, felt icy cold, numb and tingly.
Overhead a Search and Rescue Helicopter hovered for about an hour - a good sign that someone, somewhere nearby was in a lot of trouble. I did worry for some time that I’d accidentally pressed my SOS. I found out later that a hiker had broken their ankle up there. I’m lucky it wasn’t me. Managed to get off the mountain thanks to a lovely American family who thought they were going for a lovely day-hike! In the car park, three miles later, I saw two other people, wild-eyed and looking every inch as overcome as I felt. They had also bailed - it was a lot harder than the snow report had purported it to be.
Five hours to clear two miles! I’m in a hotel nursing horribly bruised arms and legs (pic doesn't really look that bad, I know!) but I’m not licking my wounds - the shower was adequate enough. Still pondering what to do next...