PCT DAY 91: Mile 1571.4- Mile 1591.5

Wednesday July 13, 2016:  20.1 miles  (32 km)

My first thought as we hit the trail this morning was –  oh my goodness I love my new shoes, so wonderful and soft. Thank you amazing Trail Angels Ed and Layla for making it possible to get them early.  To the east and west of us were mountains just being illuminated by the rising sun. I just wanted to stand there and drink in the view.

But there was no time to stand around marvelling at the beauty of of the landscape, we had miles to make.  And just like yesterday after the first few miles, the visual feast was replaced by a green tunnel where we stayed for a few hours. Pretty challenging  hiking this morning with lots of climbing. We were helped by the coolness of the forest and the occasional happy birdsong to cheer us on our way.

Mid-morning we popped out of the forest only to face a hot and sweaty climb.Relieved to get the climb out of the way, we reached the ridgetop which would lead to the Russian Wilderness area. We were looking forward to seeing the granite ruggedness of the Russians.  And just as we were about the enter the granite outcrops and forest of the Russians, Mt Shasta once again came into view behind us. It seemed like a talisman following us. 

Entering the green tunnel

Busy bee

Unfortunately the Russian Wilderness did not return my love . The trail was very narrow in parts with soft edges and very steep dropoffs. One of these soft areas gave way and I started to slide down hill. One minute I am hiking as normal, next minute I am starting to slide down a ravine. In order to stop the rest of my body following my downslope leg, I threw by body weight backwards which caused my trailing leg to collapse under me. My full body weight and the weight of the pack landed on my flexed open ankle.  Disaster averted but ankle was not so happy. Within half an hour it had doubled in size. So our plans for the day suddenly changed. My ankle was excrutiatingly painful to walk on.  And we had to hike through a burnt forest area exposed to the full heat of the afternoon sun. 

Fat tears of pain and frustration were streaming down my face as I hiked on. I had to remind myself that it could have been a lot worse.  Very slowly we made it to Paynes Lake and set up camp just after 4pm. I am lying down in the tent giving the ankle the RICE  treatment. Hope it feels better in the morning. We were surprised to find that camped not far away from us were our hiking friends Napoleon and Red Cross. We’ve been crosing paths since Walker Pass way back in the desert and went through the high Sierra at the same time. Having setup camp so early by such a lovely spot, it feels like we are on a little holiday break from the trail.