PCT Day 60 – Trench Foot!

Started: 07:00 @ MM 799.8 Woods Creek (Elevation 8,532ft)

Finished: 17:15 @ MM 811.8 Kings River Camp (Elevation 10,189ft)

Miles: 12.0

Elevation Gain/Loss: +3,893/-2,236ft

Food: Oatmeal, Cliff Bar, Snickers, Tortilla w/cheese and salami, Trail Mix, Sweet & Sour Chicken w/Rice

Health & Hygiene: 0 Blisters, Days since last shower 4, Days since laundry 4

The night was calm and uneventful. The storm was officially over so we could press on. As eager as I was to get going, the prospect of a 7 mile – 3,000ft climb didn’t exactly fill me with glee. Furthermore, the fresh snow falls promised to make things even tougher than they already were … such joy!

The day’s high point!
We left early. It was freezing cold, so cold in fact that I had to enlist help to get the silly bear thing open. The bear can is officially impossible to open if you are a bear or a human with cold hands! The day’s hike started with an exciting and fun suspension bridge crossing. After that, everything went uphill and metaphorically downhill.
Endless postholing through deep fresh snow!
The trail was covered in a deep layer of fresh snow which made it almost impossible to follow. We lost the trail on numerous occasions and had to posthole for miles over endless snowfields. It took over 6 hours to cover the 7 miles to the top of Pinchot Pass. I was officially 100% over the Sierras and the snow. I hated being cold all the time, I hated the snow and I hated having constantly wet feet. Not even the satisfaction of reaching the top could quell the intense disdain I was currentlyfeeling for the trail. My mind was made up … when I reached Mammoth Lakes I would skip up to Reno and bypass the rest of this nightmare!
Butterfly at the top of Pinchot Pass.
The northern side of Pinchot Pass was thankfully a little easier to navigate. However, in the warm afternoon sun the fresh snow was melting fast and the trail had now become a river. I sloshed my way down the hill, feeling no less despondent about the whole miserable day. The frequent creek crossings were an annoying digression from the continual sloshing. My feet were sodden and I began to grow genuinely concerned about the possibility of developing Trench Foot!
The notorious Kings River!
Just when I was quite sure that things couldn’t possibly get any worse, we reached the final obstacle of the day … the mighty Kings River. A friend and fellow hiker, Pounder, had almost lost his life in this very river just a few days earlier. I had been dreading this crossing and it looked every bit as horrific as its reputation. Butterfly stomped up and down the bank looking for a safe place to cross. I took my pack off, sat down on a rock and whined about my Trench Foot to anyone who would listen.
Butterfly acting as safety for Spreadsheet. In the background, 2Bar about to go for a swim!
After some time Butterfly reappeared through the undergrowth with a downstream solution. We all obediently followed. He crossed first and made it look relatively easy … It wasn’t! I almost lost my footing and if Butterfly hadn’t been in the middle of the river to save me, yesterday’s post would probably have been the last. 2Bar also needed to be rescued and Happy Trails was very lucky to escape a 30 yard swim with only dampened pride and soaked kit!
Once we were all across, the most crucial task was then getting a fire going to help everyone dry off and warm up. I was ecstatic that the day was over … 2 passes down and one deadly creek crossed. Just 3 more passes and 2 more notorious creeks to go! Mammoth Lakes couldn’t come a soon enough. I wasn’t ready to quit the trail but I was ready to quit the Sierras. Meanwhile, VVR (the next place to acquire food) was still 67 miles away … food rationing was now officially a thing!

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7 thoughts on “PCT Day 60 – Trench Foot!

  1. You’ve been thru some tough days… I hope things are better at this point!! Your pictures & storytelling is on point though… Thank you for taking the time to entertain us =)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m enjoying your blog and learning about thru-hiking. Could you use something like a gortex sock or neoprene bootie to help with the wet feet?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with Hobbes, don’t quit the Sierra at Mammoth! July is one of the best months to hike it, so long has you have mosquito protection. It’ll be green and beautiful and amazing. You’re doing the hardest parts now, hiking in the early season. Maybe I’ll even see you. I’m coming out to Mammoth to meet up with my daughter and hike with her on the trail for a while, she’s probably a few days behind you. Would love to buy you a beer sometime… 🙂

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  4. Nice going Hollywood .!!!
    The king looked like a beast.! – but u all did it.

    Xxxx Belden awaits…. As does a joyful package from the Gabbs and me!
    Keep on keeping on sista xxxx

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  5. Other than that, how was the hike Mz Hollywood?

    The snow is melting fast. When we came over Pinchot 3 weeks ago, it was 100% coverage. The descent was pure line-of-sight with ice axes deployed for emergency self arrest. As for the Kings, our timing was so impeccable (ie we were going so slow) we managed to hit it at 4pm for maximum thrills.

    The weather is supposed to get very nice – just in time for the warmest part of the trail north of Mather where you drop to 8k in a steep wooded canyon that runs almost 15 miles. Your crew will most definitely want to get started before 4am for Muir. Long, long snow fields that will drop you below 1 mph if it’s not frozen.

    Once you make it to Mammoth, there’s no need to bail. It’s getting to be prime time with lots of non-PCT hikers. Just try and hit the last snow fields early (eg Donohue) – around dawn – and you should be fine.

    When you look back and remember what you accomplished through the Sierra, it will be one of the key highlights of your trip.

    Liked by 1 person

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