NCT Mile 868.5 to 883.5

I’ve been thinking about a couple terms thrown around the hiker world, “hiker legs” & “hiker hunger”.  

Hiker hunger is the idea that once you’ve been hiking for a few day or weeks straight, you can eat like a bottomless pit.  I put this to the test last night.  One of the things I haven’t seen referenced in hiker YouTube videos or books is what happens at 0330 the morning after your gorge out.  It’s a long lonely walk to the crapper, and what happens next is not something I will detail.

Hiker legs is the idea that once you’ve been hiking for a few days or weeks, your legs adjust and you can do 20-25 miles regularly.  We have found that our legs are never the things to get tired first, it’s our feet.  Maybe hiker feet would be a more appropriate term?  It makes me think that there really might be something more to the ultralight hiking gear.  Carry less weight, feet last longer and stay healthier, hike more miles.  Learn to carry the appropriate amount of water while also never letting a known water source pass you by in search of an unknown.  More thinking to be done on this.

The trail angel crew hung out and watched us eat our breakfast and get ready for the trail.  We said our goodbyes and got back to hiking around 0830.  For the first time on the trail, we didn’t have a goal to be anywhere at any specific time.  It’s true that we want to be finished on Monday, but there are only something like 42 miles left for any way we want to slice them.  Our intention was to hike slowly but probably end up with big miles.

Taking it slow today was easy.  We stopped at almost every river crossing, even had second coffee with a stroopwaffle.  The hiking a long day was a bit harder.  We took a pre-dinner break at a creek to cook dinner, refill water, and then eat when we felt ready.  Everything was prepped for hiking into the evening… until a really sweet camping spot presented itself around mile 15.  It was across from a pond that we didn’t feel like grabbing water from so we just dry camped it and called it a night.  Probably the quickest either of us have fallen asleep on the trail, the best we’ve ever slept as well.