The day that Mette and I summited Mt. San Jacinto was very difficult.
We ascended around 5000′ to a total altitude of around 10800′, then we had to head down from the peak if we didn’t want to sleep in sub-freezing conditions.
After sumitting, we had hiked another hour and a half and still hadn’t met back up with the PCT. My ibuprofen had worn off so my knees and Achilles were killing me (I could hardly bend my left ankle or knee), I was tired, and worst of all I was HUNGRY. We and hardly eaten since lunch and the hanger was setting in.
(Pronounced like “anger”)
A feeling of rage that is directly proportional to how hungry one is. Very dangerous amongst long distance hikers.
- Hiker hunger
I dragged myself along the trail after Mette. Several areas of the trail had been washed out or blocked by fallen trees, so we had to do a fair bit of improvising. A few times we lost the trail.
As I was heaving myself over a log, my leg got caught on a nub of branch sticking out from the trunk.
Fuck. Ow. I cursed. I held my knee, willing the pain away. It was stubborn and held on. All the frustration and pain and elevation and hunger and anger all bubbled over and I screamed.
I swung my trekking poles and smashed them against a rock. As any reasonable person might expect, this was the result.
Look at it! I exclaimed, holding up my broken pole.
Oh my god. Said Mette. I can’t believe you just broke that.
The exhaustion stuck me again and I sat down. She came over and gave me a little pat on the shoulder. I was mostly laughing at this point, too tired for anythink else.
I can’t go much further today. I confessed.
That’s okay. She told me. We’ll camp at the next spot we find.
We made our way back to the PCT and hiked another mile or so before finding a good place to camp. Because we were descending a mountainside, it was very exposed to high winds and we had a hard time finding a place to camp. We finally found a beautiful place hidden between huge boulders which was protected from the wind. And if we squeezed through the boulders, there was an outcrop of rock jutting out over the mountainside. It faced West and we had the most beautiful sunset that I’ve seen on trail so far.