NCT Mile 49 to 58

Can you reverse the curse?  Every person Brianna and I have taken out on a long distance hike has tapped out early.  Our latest victim is Ricardo, tapped after two night.  With Ric out that brings our victim total up to three.  That’s three out of three, 100% for those keeping track from home.

All three of our hiking companions went home early for varying degrees of the same reason.  It would be easy to say that Brianna and I hike people beyond their limits, but I don’t think that’s true.  Over packing and underestimating the difficulties to be encountered.  Logic would make you think that packing more things would make you BETTER prepared for bumps on the trail when the opposite is actually true.  When a 15 mile hike turns into a 20 mile hike or a 12 mile into a 15, pack weight is what prevents you from carrying on.  A roll of duct tape and an extra pair of clothes cannot save you.  

Ric took some hard falls.  The fall that did him in was on a steep decent down a wet clay hill.  Sliding your ass down wet clay doesn’t feel good.  Hitting the ground with 60 pounds of gear on your back, well, he is lucky to have gotten up.  The fall was so hard that the bottom of his pole bent 90 degrees from the weight he put on it to try and stop.  We had fun while they were here and we miss them now that they are gone.

After Ric and Shauna headed towards the early jump off Trailhead, Brianna and I continued on through 3 miles of rough bog jumping and tree blow downs before the trail smoothed out again.  The last 6 miles were actually quite nice, with three more waterfalls… well, they were labeled waterfalls.  These waterfalls were no where near as grand as yesterday’s, these waterfalls were just areas where water happened to fall down some rocks.

Finding our campsite was a little tricky, as per usual.  The DNR doesn’t have signs for where campsites are and how far you might be from them like they do the rentable cabins.  It might be that these campsites rotate and it’s too much to manage, it’s tricky for those of us not familiar with the area.  The only sign you get is a small three inch placard on a single tree.  If you miss the placard, you just keep hiking.  We were lucky enough to guess our campsite and then confirm it was correct after 15-20 minutes of wandering around.  We are definitely in the right spot tonight!  We were definitely in the wrong spot yesterday.

One of the new challenges this trip has brought us is that cell coverage is basically zero.  On our Manistee hiking trip, we would text people at night, check the weather, I’d post blog updates.  On this trip, we are relying on Mel to be our eyes in the sky and send us weather updates to our Garmin In-Reach, which uses GPS.  We did stumble across a little cell coverage around lunch today where we were able to make a call out, send some texts and post to the blog.  We would like to call Ric and Shauna to see what their plans are tonight but it’s just not possible.  We did get a Garmin message that they made it to a hotel and showers safely.

Wait there is more… another variable on this adventure worth tracking is that Brianna seems to have tweaked her knee somewhere in the past couple of days.  I’m not sure what impact this will have on the next few days but the implications are quite obvious.  For now, we sleep to the sounds to another river in a secluded section of the Porcupine mountains.  Mountains to the left of me, river to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you!