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Day 61: Forrester pass & hike naked day (the solstice)

Day 61: Forrester pass & hike naked day (the solstice)

Start: 770.84 bush camp
End: 786.14 Upper Vidette Meadow
Over 15 miles today is amazing.
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Okay, mom made me “Chicken, forbidden rice, peanut sauce, peanuts, and I added green onions which grow prolifically here. It was AMAZING! I just wish it was bigger. (Side note: the trader joes chicken stock packets are pretty awesome on their own too!)
You know how people stink if they eat onions? Well I already stink more and have been eating onions at every water crossing (maybe every quarter mile) for half the day. 🙂
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After getting up at midnight for Whitney yesterday, by the end of the day I was so tired I was impaired. I slept very well which is uncommon for me out here – I tend to wake up every time I roll over, but the night time temps (at 10k+ feet) have been mild enough that rolling over and opening up my sleeping bag isn’t frigid (I never have zipped up my sleeping bag… It is bigger that way and it is so warm I don’t need to. There is a clip at the neck, and that tends to hold it where I want it… Except when I roll over. Oh, and the zipper is under me, not on a side)
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I didn’t see Forrester pass until I was about four miles away, and even when I did, you look at it and cannot believe there is a trail there.
As I approached, I had some of the same thoughts I had on Whitney, it is too big, I need to stop and do it in the morning when the snow isn’t so soft…
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Early in the morning, snow is ice, and dangerous to walk on. Mid morning it has enough give for traction, but isn’t so soft you step through it and “post hole”. By afternoon, post holing is inevitable. And aggravating.
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Well, I approached in the afternoon. No helping it, I needed to let myself sleep in, and at eight climbing miles I was slow. I rarely go uphill quickly, it still amazes me when I see people do it.
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As it started getting steep, the switchbacks in a talus field (broken rock) were often covered in snow, so people make their own trails. The one I followed led me straight in to the talus, and I ended up climbing through the rock for maybe two hundred yards before I climbed on to the trail. Slow work.
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Above the talus the trail is cut in solid rock. Dynamite. The idea that it existed in such good shape and size seemed fantasy, It was almost something out of a hobbit story. I think one of the videos I took shows it.
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I made it to the top, and not long after three hikers, two men and a woman hike up naked! I love hike naked day!
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I really ought to talk about the beauty of the trail on the other side, it deserves its own story, but I am le-tired and going to sleep.
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P.S. River crossings are obnoxious.

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Charlie Hough
5 Comments
  • Jennifer (Clark) Flaherty

    Too funny/awesome! I have hiked sections of the AT for the past four years and have heard about Hike Naked Day, but have yet to meet anyone who’s participated. Perhaps the AT is too close to civilization thus making hikers there afraid of being arrested. You’re probably too busy/too far along to answer this, but I’m wondering how many miles everyone in the photos hiked while naked and if there were issues with sunburn or chafing. I don’t usually carry enough sunscreen to cover my entire body.

    July 10, 2016 at 9:44 am Reply
    • Charlie Hough

      Nobody I talked to got a sunburn from that, but a few put their clothes back on to protect themselves from their backpack. I’d say 2-5 miles generally, but some did it all day.
      Civilization is generally not where we have been. Usually 5 miles from town is thru hikers only, with a few exceptions. Around Mammoth lakes for example there are people all over the place in a 10-15 mile radius.
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      For the most part, nudity has lost its edge on trail. Men and women stop hiding to pee and bathe. A good lake mid-day is a missed opportunity if you don’t strip down and jump in.
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      A few days after Whitney/Forrester the southbound JMT hikers started crossing paths. They are a weird hybrid of thru-hiker and goofy perfumed day hikers. Makeup and cologne don’t belong on trail. We tend to talk trash about the JMT’ers, the irony being that was probably us two months ago.

      July 10, 2016 at 9:59 am Reply
      • Charlie Hough

        As for leg chafe… Haven’t had a problem with that for over a month. In fact thanks for reminding me, time to toss out my body glide, that stuffs heavy. Not sure why chafing hasn’t bothered me under arm etc when I am really working hard and sweating like a banshee. No thigh gap here yet, but I have slimmed down a LOT.

        July 10, 2016 at 10:07 am Reply
  • Melissa Knapp

    Charlie, by this point in your hiking journey, are there things that you wish you had known before you started–things that you would now tell yourself before the start of your hike? I’m curious whether your preconceived ideas before starting the PCT have turned out to be true. Is there anything that you took with you that you now feel is unnecessary? And are there things that you now wish you had when you had started, or have acquired since starting (other than wishing you had purchased an Otter case for your phone) that you feel is a necessity?

    I’m really enjoying seeing all your pictures and reading your tales of hiking. So sorry that you lost a group of your pictures and blog posts. I’ve heard (read) that the John Muir wilderness is a really beautiful section of the PCT, so was looking forward to seeing those pictures. I’m enjoying hiking along with you (virtually, of course), on all sections, beautiful or not–they are all interesting.

    July 10, 2016 at 7:17 pm Reply
    • Charlie Hough

      Actually no. My gear hasn’t changed a lot since the start. I’ve dropped a few things I didn’t need but my core gear has stayed relatively stable since the beginning.
      My lack of fitness at the start was a given, but my tactic of ‘get fit on the trail’ worked out well enough. I am still having an issue with heel pain after ~15 miles that is still preventing me from doing more than 20 miles a day, and my current thinking is that my downhill stride is the culprit. Not positive, and not sure how to fix even if I’m right. Chronic problems like this ought to have worked themselves out by now for better or for worse.
      Edit: my new phone is in the same otter box as the old phone. I drop it way too often to use anything less sturdy– a life proof case is more waterproof, but looks too flimsy to handle how many times I drop this sucker in the hardest ways.
      As for my preconceived ideas what the trail would be like… It is never what I expected. Even when I am dead on correct, when my mental picture puts something I’ve seen in a photo on the right hand side, invariably that means in reality that it is actually on the left. I tend to only plan for ‘today’ and have little to no idea what is coming up tomorrow or next week (outside of food planning) and that has made some of the more popular sights unexpected surprises. I have to do it that way, otherwise looking too far ahead is too big and scary.
      As for my potentially leaving the trail (which I may or may not get around to posting tonight), it is for a different and simple reason: fatigue. More mental than physical

      July 23, 2016 at 10:50 pm Reply

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