Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Day 71-700 Miles And Heat Exhaustion

I decided to eat one of the bars from the guys to get on the trail, and make my breakfast down the trail later on. I got to a nice footbridge, gathered some water in the empty water bottle and boiled it. It was already getting so hot outside. We got to another pasture crossing which had the 700 mile marker which was a great milestone and I pressed on to the woods shade after snapping a photo. The direct sunlight and heat is unbearable. Once in the woods I came across a giant 700 mile rock marker and it was nice to not have to take a mile marker selfie for once. Approaching a road crossing and parking lot, I spotted a case of Mountain Dew and a case of Dr. Pepper. There were crushed cans on top so for a moment I was dissapointed thinking there were none left. I got down and looked to the back and saw both cases had some left-score! Thank you Biscuits and Gravy for my Dr. Pepper! I sat to enjoy it and wait for Dexter when 10 minutes passed and Napal came down the trail and sat to enjoy a soda as well. 5 minutes later Dexter came and was happy to see soda at the end of the tunnel. He drank one while I was there, and had another I was told after I left. Getting into the start of the hike to McAfee Knob was nice with the clear path and bridges, but the heat was really taking a toll on me. I had my headphone in to try to take my mind off how hot it was, I walked at a very slow pace since I could feel dizziness setting in. I needed lunch and to cool down or I would be in bad shape fast. I came up on the dry spring-awesome. I got to the shelter sign, took off my shirt and changed into my under armour boxer and sat on some big rocks in the shade. Napal said there was no water at the shelter that he was going to walk above the spring to see if there was anything, if so he would let me use his filter. Turns out there wasn't. I made broccoli and cheddar Knorr pasta with a chicken packet mixed in and ate really slow. I could feel after about 30-40 minutes the life coming back inside of me. Dexter was rather bothered by the dryness of the spring as well and came up to sit with me. Every day hiker that passed I asked if they had any unopened waters-most didn't, one girl said she didn't but would give me what she had left in her bottle. I poured it into my nalgene bag. I felt like a homeless person sitting on the side of the road begging for change. You gotta do what you gotta do! Dexter headed on, but I knew I wasn't ready yet to take on the 1.6 miles to the top. I relaxed on the rock and John and John Joe came up and were feeling like the rest of us; hot, exhausted, worried, and annoyed with the lack of water. They decided to look for water further down below the shelter. John came up to tell me he found some did I want him to get me some-thankful, I said if you wouldn't mind filling up this water bottle that would be great. I was faced with a catch 22; I wanted a gorgeous picture at McAfee Knob but it was so hot I couldn't bring myself to move on yet, on the other hand the afternoon called for thunderstorms and I already started to hear thunder. I knew I would be so saddened by getting to the top and it be rainy or cloudy but a part of me wanted it to rain to cool me down. Hiker problems. I walked down to the shelter to talk with John Doe while waiting for John with the water and she said they were going to spend the night at the shelter. After sending me off with the bottle of water (my safety knowing I can cook with it or worst case drop some aquamira tablets in to drink) they wished me luck and to stay dry, or wet whichever I preferred. I walked on slowly, the heat was dead humidity and I was walking as slow as a turtle. I came across a couple a few years younger than me; again asking if they by any chance had any bottles of unopened water, the guy said he did. He pulled out a little lunch cooler and handed me one. Can't get what you want if you don't ask! Thank you guys so much! I slowly sipped on the bottle of water and stepped one step at a time up to the sumit of McAfee Knob. Finally, I made it! I threw off my pack and walked to the cliff. I saw Dexter's pack but he was nowhere in sight. Dexter? No answer. Dexter?? He was laying on the rock below his pack and sat up. Phew, I thought he fell off the cliff before I got my famous McAfee Knob photo!-just kidding man! I took a few photos of him first and then he took mine. I was so grateful for the clear sky, the clouds, and the fact that I was able to get that amazing famous photo of me. Being out in the open was still hot but better without a pack on hiking uphill. After taking our photos we left to head to camp. We stopped by the shelter to find Happy Trails, Napal, and Red Eagle. Red Eagle let me use his Sawyer squeeze so I was able to fill up 3L in my Camelbak. I decided to cook dinner while Dexter was down getting water, I was debating a little night hiking to get miles in while the sun was setting. I left the shelter around 7:00 with 6 miles to the next shelter. We would arrive at 10:00 which isn't terrible. I left before Dexter since I hike slower, I got to Happy Trails camped out about 1.5 miles from the gap. I told him to let Dexter know I am going to camp at the gap and go to bed so I can get up early to beat the heat. Made more sense getting to camp at 8:00 and have already eaten than get up at 10:00 and have to get up the following morning early to beat the heat. I got to the gap and it was more of an overgrown old road (and although I have slept in similar places before) this one was a little different. For starters AWOL guide advised against stealth camping in the National Forrest for preservation reasons and this was kinda out in the open, secondly there was no real flat spots, and lastly there was a field below already with a deer in it, I wouldn't get any sleep with the noises deer make. From the gap the trail went straight uphill; I had a feeling that at the top where it flattened out, there would be a stealth spot. I dropped my pack and hiked to the top, the sign read Tinker Cliffs in little over a mile, next shelter 2.9. I got to where it flattened out a little further, looked to the left and up on the hill I saw a fire pit-perfect. I went back downhill, wrote a note in messy writing and so I sounded like a dude: "Dexter, hey man go up the hill-pass the sign. Where it flattens out-bushwhack to the left you will see a campsite and fire pit." Up the hill I went to set up, once I got my tent all situated he showed up. I asked if he brought the note to hide the evidence...he forgot it. He said he would go back down after setting up but he forgot and never ended up going back. I set my alarms for 5:30 and 5:45 which sounded horrible but not as bad as the heat exhaustion today. I never understood hikers setting alarms early on, I thought this was something to enjoy-wake up whenever you wanted. Well now the heat has forced me to join the alarm club. I told Dexter of my plans and he wasn't too thrilled getting up that early either but we were meeting my grandparents and I was eager to get into town tomorrow to see them and of course shower!

No comments:

Post a Comment