There are a lot of little things out here. Things that don’t make up a full post but they are part of our life.
I hate to admit it, but we have come to rely on our technology. We came out here with a couple of different resources. We had Yogi’s pages for in town information, we had Halfmile’s paper maps, we had Guthook’s app, and we had Halfmile’s app. Now we pretty much only use Guthook’s app. At first I liked Halfmile’s app better, it is basically just a list of locations, destinations, campsites, water sources, anything you could need on trail, and the distance to them from your current location on trail. Which is fine, but Guthook’s app has elevation profiles and the maps with your GPS location as well as all the points of interest. If you tap on a water source or an upcoming campsite it will tell you the distance to that location. It has become all that we use. I am typically the kind of person that believes adamantly in always having paper maps and a compass. We didn’t have them on the AT, but we have been carrying them on the PCT, up until we got our bear cans and decided to lighten our loads… Now I am sure some people will think this irresponsible but I am not going to lie, we hadn’t looked at the maps, not even one time. I love maps but I find Halfmile’s really confusing and hard to look at. Whenever we meet people who actually use the maps I am always very impressed. But they are missing out on so much information that we are receiving thanks to Guthook. Guthook also has a comment section that updates every time you have service. People can leave comments about water sources, campsites, current snow conditions, anything. And then when we look at the water source we see everyone’s comments. That feature was crutial in the desert, where people left comments on how many gallons were in a water cache. People might also say, what if your phone dies? Possible, although we have taken steps to dimish this risks, namely we have a battery pack, we keep our phone on airplane mode, and we have it in a lifeproof case. Judge us, I know I do, but it is all down to Guthook at this point. Also, now you know that if I make reference to something called Guthook like it’s an all knowing God, that it is just the app that is keeping us alive out here.
As you already know we made a lot of really delicious dehydrated meals for this trip. We put together healthy oatmeal and packed a variety of different and wholesome snacks. And that has been amazing. However, lately we have been doing really short resupplies at small stores in order to keep our pack weight down in the Sierras and I hate to admit it but man I missed Trail Food. The other night Kyle and I had three packets of shitty Top Ramen and washed it down with two packets of Idahoan Mashed Potatoes. It was fabulous. Also, we are addicted to gummy bears.
We are SO dirty. Currently the palms of my hands are black from my trekking poles and apparently I have brown dirty rouge spots on my cheeks and a dirty mustache. Or so the boys tell me. And my shirt. I have no idea how it got so dirty. There are brown spots all over it and I have no idea where the stains came from. I have started trying to pay more attention to when new stains appear (which is hard to keep track of considering the sheer mass of previous stains) but today I did manage to track a couple of bits of chocolate, a squished bug, and snot which quickly got coated in dirty, all of which will probably result in new stains. Kyle says he is starting to see things in my back stains. The other day he claimed to have seen the Mother Mary, which had us really excited because we thought we were going to make a fortune on Ebay. Yesterday he told me it looks like a duck now, which I doubt sells as well on Ebay. When we were in Independence we had just taken all of our clothes to get washed when Cameron realized he had forgotten to put his shorts into the mix. He was horrified, those shorts are his everything, he doesn’t even have underwear. According to him his ball sweat was creating something akin to a Rorschach test on the built in underwear. He promptly washed them in the shower. We leave every shower brown with dirt.
Something about PCT trail conditions create the most amazing and terrible boogers. They build up a couple of times a day, filling up your entire nose, requiring picking. Specifically there is this ridge on the bottom inside where a booger wall forms. If you don’t knock down the wall on a regular basis it will impede your ability to breath. It is terrible. You have to knock it down, but then, in an awful twist of fate sometimes picking the booger out results in a extremely sensitive spot in your nose and you begin sneezing uncontrollably. And it isn’t just boogers. The moment you wake up your are congested. The first mile of the trail is serenaded by an orchestra of snorting and sniffling, gurgling and hawking as we all try to rocket or cough the phlegm out of our body.
If it’s not one thing, it’s another on the trail. Now it’s mosquitos. They are bad and you can never predict where they are going to be bad. You would think that lakes would always have bad mosquitos and any place where there was no water would be okay. Hardly the case, some lakes are completely fine and then occasionally in an area with no water as far as the eye can see there will be clouds of them. Flowing water seems to have less mosquitos, and a good windy spot is usually safe. Sunset is the worst, something about that cool air seems to excite them. Often times we eat dinner dressed in full rain gear in order to deter them. But I am going to be honest, we haven’t had to don the head nets yet. At night they perch on the mesh of the tent and wait. It makes you feel like you are sleeping in a shark tank, they circle as you sleep. Kyle has created the following poem, inspired by the mosquitos:
Mosquito, mosquito. Born in the mud.
Mosquito, mosquito. They want to suck your blood.
Mosquito, mosquito. Clouds of them everywhere.
Mosquito, mosquito. Buzzing in your ear.
Mosquito, mosquito. Bit you all summer long.
Mosquito, mosquito. Just wait until October, they will all be gone.
Now imagine Kyle repeating that incessantly in a high screechy Dracula voice. It’s something.
This is the nickname Kyle gave to Cameron and I. I don’t think I trip that often but apparently I do and Kyle thought I was pretty bad, until Cameron came along. Cameron and his giant feet kick everything on trail. And they trip over a lot of invisible things, as well. Cameron tripped so much at the beginning of the hike he sprained his ankle. Kyle says he was better after that for a while but once his ankle healed he went right back t his old ways. He actually managed to fall all the way off the trail as we were descending off of Muir. He says he has been preparing for a big fall this entire time. Mid fall he whipped himself around, so that his backpack took the brunt of the fall. He landed off trail in a seated position, reclined as thought he was just taking a small break. After that he said nothing would make him happier than if Kyle and I both biffed it before he left. He got his wish later that day when I miss judged a jump over the stream and went down. I literally floundered in a small stream, but unlike Cameron my only goal was to protect my pack, so I went down hands first, getting my whole right side soaking wet. It was really a very small stream. Cameron almost cried.