Day 57 | mile 1044.1 - 1090.0

Hi, I hiked 46 miles and I’m a crazy person. I think that’s a reasonable summary of today.

No mammals were hurt over night. If they ran across my face, I didn’t wake up for it.

Mashed potatoes, Nutella English muffins and tea for breakfast. Listened to ABBA: Greatest Hits, so you get the idea of my mood today. After a quick 4 miles, I started seeing these mysterious signs.

TRAIL MAGIC by Alan and Tim! 

I wish I had taken a picture of my ridiculous plate: biscuits and gravy, bacon, yogurt with fig jam, blueberries, pineapple, strawberries, whipped cream, coffee with chai tea powder. Amazing. I chatted with Sideways. She’s an older Dutch woman who loves being out on the PCT. (I think I like chatting with older people on the PCT? Don’t know what that says about me.)

I had 32 miles to hike to Carson Pass today, so I wanted to keep moving. I could tell it was Friday because all the weekend warrior backpackers were coming out of the woodwork. Finished Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I was listening to a Tropic Haus playlist on Spotify. (“Haus” spelled that way made me laugh.) Passed the Swedish couple I met in Bridgeport a few days ago.

louisa + frogger

I was getting really excited about seeing my mom and Vova, so I used InReach to confirm our meeting spot. GASP. They’re not coming tonight. Too much traffic.

But but but… I really wanted brownies and ice-cream, real food, a shower.

To say I was bummed would be a major understatement. I whined to Alex. He was going to a cabin in Lincoln, CA to be with friends this weekend. I whined convincingly enough for him to take pity and offer to pick me up. It’s 2 hours out of the way for him. But he could be there at 11, he said. I felt like a real inconsiderate dick even entertaining this.

I dragged my feet hiking as I mulled over all my options. I could:
  • hitch at Carson Pass and get a hotel room by myself;
  • camp before Carson Pass with the Swedish couple I liked; (the most reasonable option)
  • camp 4 miles after Carson Pass at Truckee River with 2 guys I met; (another reasonable option)
  • wait 4-5 hours at Carson Pass for Alex to pick me up;
  • hike another 14 miles after to Echo Summit and have Alex pick me up there;
That last option was more like a joke I pitched to Alex. I was sure he’d say that’s crazy. But instead he said, “That would work”. Hahahaha. I guess this is happening?

I got some real pep in my step then. I ran all the flat and non-technical downhill sections. I tried not to think about the total number of miles I’d hike today. I just focused on the 14 miles in front of me. I’ve done 14 miles a million times.

Ran right past Carson Pass and into El Dorado National Forest. Everything was familiar and I could basically taste Lake Tahoe from there. Passed a hammock. He peeked out of his nest and yelled, “You’re flying!” I was excited and nervous.

Soon enough I was on the TRT. I distinctly remember getting on the PCT last September and feeling like I didn’t deserve to be there. I hadn’t hiked through the desert and the Sierra to be there. Except today I did deserve to be there. I did hike 1,070 miles to get to this meadow.

Ran up to Showers Lake. There were 20-30 tents up there. Everyone seemed to look up from their dinner to watch me run past like someone is chasing me. The sky was already cotton candy pink. My goal was to make it to the top of the hill before getting my headlamp. I did that and then some.

Turned on MBMBaM in my headphones at first, then through the speaker when I got spooked. Put the battery pack in my hip belt so I could charge my phone. Lost the battery pack. Turned back and found it in the dark.

Finally, at 11, Alex and I saw each other’s lights and yelled hello. The last section is a bit of a maze but I ran and we met by the car. The best hug/feeling ever.

Alex drove fast. Seemed too fast to me because I’m used to walking speed. Stopped for In-and-Out. I got a double double and a vanilla milkshake. Got to Lincoln at 1:15. Shower. Hips and ankles sting in the water. Sleep in the softest bed in the arms of my favorite person. Is that the best feeling?