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 !!
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.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!
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!