Steele Outside

PCT 2016: the grande shit show spectacular

Day 7: Der wind ist verflucht

Mile 79.3 – Mile 9818.7 miles 
Today was grueling. I woke up before dawn and sat in my tent looking at my phone until I started to feel antsy. By the time I was packed up, it was daylight and all the others were beginning to peek their heads out. I told them I’d see them up trail and took off. 
It was a beautiful sunrise! Again! Really, they just keep getting better and better. I thought I was taking it slow this morning. We had a gradual climb all day and I didn’t push myself too hard to start. I stopped several to take pictures- the morning light was so soft and pretty. 
We had crazy winds last night, but we were mostly protected by the little canyon we were in. I could hear the wind blowing strongly above us, though and felt bad for the people who had made it up higher. 
I thought the wind was supposed to die down this morning, but it never did. Ever. All day, the wind blew. Not a light breeze, but seriously strong winds. I later found out they had reached 70 mph. At first, it was funny, even fun and interesting, something different. And, I guess it was that, in the end. I’m glad I had the experience. But it was also scary a couple of times, though when the wind pushed, it usually pushed me toward the mountain and not away.
There was one section from about mile 93.5 to around 96 that was legitimately dangerous. I was being blown sideways so hard that I kept stumbling and catching myself. At one point, my hat blew right off and up the mountain about 50 feet away and I had to climb up and get it. No way was I letting the wind steal my new favorite hat! 
I was going to camp at 94, but it was still so windy there that i decided to try to make it to Barrel Spring at 101.1. I was all packed up and ready to leave when Wang, Megan and Nate showed up. It was so good to see friendly faces! We all marched together to mile 98 and found a little flat piece of land to squeeze our tents onto. 
And here we are, all in bed by 6:30. It’s still windy, but it has calmed down a lot. We’ve decided to take it easy and just get up when we’re ready tomorrow. Only 11.5 miles to Warner Springs and my first resupply box! So exciting!
A note about today: even though I felt pissed off at the wind and pretty grumpy by about 12:00, I still had an amazing day. The morning was beautiful. I didn’t see much of the rest of the day because my head was tucked against the wind and flying debris, but what I saw was spectacular. I fully realize how fortunate I am to be here. 
Today I met: no one new. It was a very solitary day. 
Today I learned:

– How to just keep going. 
Today’s hike was powered by Hunter’s playlist, Purple Rain (the album), and inner resolve. 

  

   
 

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Day 6: Repairing Trail Relations 

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Day 8: Chicken soup for the hiker’s soul

4 Comments

  1. Tim

    Verflucht!! Such a great word. Did you learn that from Strauss’ SALOME? John the Baptist says that to Salome as he decends into his prison at one point. Stay strong and grounded! We miss you here in Mashvegas.

    • ksteele

      Ha! Close! It’s a line from Wozzeck. “Du, der Platz ist verflucht!”

  2. Shawn Kuck

    The cacti are beautiful!

  3. Dawn Henrichon

    I love reading about your ad hoc community!

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