PCT Day 57 – A Pass Too Far!

Started: 10:30 @ MM 788.5 Onion Valley (Elevation 9,204ft)

Finished: 15:00 @ MM 790.0 Camp below Glenn Pass (Elevation 11,094ft)

Miles: 1.5 PCT miles … 8.0 entry miles up and over Kearsarge Pass

Elevation Gain/Loss: +3,270/-1,380ft

Food: Muffin, Tortillas w/salami and cheese, Gummi Lifesaver, Snickers

Health & Hygiene: 0 Blisters, Days since last shower 1, Days since laundry 1

It was an early start. We took the 7am bus to Independence, which left us with just the tricky hitch back up to Onion Valley. The bus was full of hikers, thankfully all clean ones following their town stop. Trips had brought baked goodies from Schat’s. I forced down a muffin but still wasn’t feeling 100% after yesterday’s run in with Coronel Saunders.

When we reached Independence there was fierce competition for a hitch. After about an hour a nice man in a big V8 pick up offered us a ride. I volunteered to ride in the back, hoping that the fresh air would help a little. I hadn’t factored in the temperature change as we climbed back up to over 9,000ft … I was a shivering mess by the time we reached Onion Valley. I made a somewhat harrowing visit to the outhouse and hoped that we would be the end of things … Sadly it wasn’t !!

Heading back into the wilderness!
Trying my very best to ignore what was going on with my digestive system, I shouldered my ludicrously heavy pack and started out on the 3,000ft climb back up to the trail. It’s pretty fair to say that I felt a little below par. Burdened by a 7 day resupply, the ascent was everything and more that I feared it would be. About an hour into the climb I had the need to step off trail as a matter of great urgency … things were generally getting worse rather than better. I had fallen behind the others and was beginning to feel very sorry for myself.
High up on Kearsarge Trail.
I finally caught the rest of the crew, who were taking a lunch break. I forced down some food but it didn’t stay down for long. Now I was running on empty, dehydrated and struggling with the altitude. We had planned to get over Kearsarge and Glenn Pass today. I’d somehow managed Kearsarge but Glenn was starting to look like a pass too far. About a mile from the top I had to conceded defeat. There was no way I could make it up and over, my legs felt weak and I kept tripping and stumbling. I slumped down onto a rock and started to cry. I wanted to go down but didn’t feel strong enough even for that. Butterfly came past and I told him I couldn’t go on. 
There was enough flat ground to camp but no water where I was. I mopishly collected some snow in my cup to melt in the sun. If I had a little sleep … maybe then I’d feel better, maybe then I would be able to carry on. I lied down in the dirt and closed my eyes. The next thing I knew I was surrounded by hikers, the crew had returned with water and moral support. They had decided to stay with me … I cried again!

View from my sick tent!
Somehow we all squeezed onto the tiny area of flat ground. I sipped water with electrolytes and managed to keep down some Gummi Lifesavers and a Snickers Bar. I slept some more and slowly the nausea began to subside. Tomorrow would be make or break … I couldn’t stay here forever but unless I felt significantly better it wouldn’t be safe for me continue into the Sierras. The next 100 mile section of trail would undoubtedly be the most challenging and I would need all my strength … I said a little prayer!

10 thoughts on “PCT Day 57 – A Pass Too Far!

  1. I hope u are less rumbly!

    Gummy bears and snickers are the best medicine….. Oh and sleep too.

    Sending love and loo paper to the sierras xxxx


  2. AMS – acute mountain sickness symptoms:

    Difficulty sleeping
    Dizziness or light-headedness
    Loss of appetite
    Nausea or vomiting
    Rapid pulse (heart rate)
    Shortness of breath with exertion

    AMS has nothing to do with condition, shape, etc. In fact, younger and fit people tend to get it because they can place themselves @ elevation faster than others who have acclimatized.

    Kearsarge is one of my favorite trailheads – close, fast and puts you right in prime territory. I used to get mild AMS on a random basis – sometimes I felt strong, other times on the *same exact hike* (eg heading up Kearsarge) I couldn’t figure out was wrong with me. I used to just power on through, and get over it within a day or so. Finally, I relented and started taking small doses of Diamox. Now, no more AMS.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kilo here….
    I’m surprised this stuff is not required kit for hikers. It’s called GSE by Nutribiotic. Grapefruit Seed Extract. Kills gut bugs….and available at health food stores. 15-20 drops in water 3 X a day will take the “Hershey Squirts” away. Don’t delay! Our friend Chance cured his “trail trotts” with it plus some probiotic capsules. Stay away from taking antibiotics. Onward and upward! Kilo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Come on bitch! Keep winding! You did it at Everest when feeling shit (and even managed to lead me into the biggest hailstorm I have ever experienced), so you can easily do it in the pusy low Sierras. Take some sustenance from the silly bear thing and get plodding!

    Liked by 1 person

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