Day 44 (May 21): Mile 539.9 – 558

Still Running Against the Wind

Beginning Elevation = 4,350
Peak Elevation = 6,300
Ending Elevation = 4,150
Weather: Very windy, Cloudy, some misting

My morning began with the sound of a soft pitter pattering of light misting on my tent. That, along with the churning sound of the giant wind turbine further down my valley. I took a peak outside my tent and found I was once again in a cloud-like fog. I decided to relax a bit, take my time getting going, and see if things would clear up. I had a chocolate chip cookie for my first breakfast, but not just any cookie, a Lenny & Larry’s 400 calorie Complete Cookie. They’re pretty good and come in lots of flavors, but definitely have a very processed taste about them.

I got on the trail at 7:30ish. This photo was taken looking at a wind turbine, but it must be hiding in the fog.

It did actually clear up a bit pretty quickly as I climbed out of it, but what was more problematic was the extreme wind. It was incredible! I found myself using my trekking poles to keep my balance and consciously having pay attention to each step to remain steady. Even then, I was getting tossed off the trail every so often, as Calzone would later say, “pulling some matrix moves, walking up the bank.” The first mile and a half was brutal. Not the greatest of videos, but gives a glimpse into what it was like.

I made it down to the bottom of a canyon where a stream flowed through and had a nice break to regroup.

Made some coffee and oatmeal and filled up my water. There aren’t really any water sources after this until I go into town tomorrow, so I filled up a solid 3.75 ish liters. Tidbit and Paddles soon joined me here (that speck of red is them). They too had struggled with the wind getting to that point.

The break was just what I needed. I felt inspired and motivated to battle the wind going forth. I added the bandana to try and cover my face a bit too.

I also started listening to my book, Harry 6, Chapter 26 – “The Cave.” This is about the part where J.K. Rowling makes it so you can’t stop reading…listening for me I suppose. You have to know what’s going to happen next (even if you’ve read it a few times or so already and may have a guess at what’s about to take place)! Anyway, it was a good companion for the wind hike.

I said goodbye to the wind farm and climbed into these sparse, slightly barren looking hills.

Came across this trail register and was able to see who’s ahead of me…

Then, had to go down and up that switchback trail ahead.

The wind was relentless. One direction it would be coming at me and I’d struggle to keep moving forward and then I’d turn to switch back and it’d push me along. Most of the time it was just uneven though and I’d have to brace myself as I walked to maintain balance.

I stopped for lunch at a tent site that was a bit sheltered and had some tuna tortilla roll-ups. Paddle and Tidbit joined here too, but I’d nearly finished by the time they arrived. I continued on and 15 second after starting my book again, I finished it. I had to walk in silence for a while afterward to absorb all that’d just taken place. Gets me every time.

In the non-wizarding world, it had started misting a bit, enough so that I put on the ole hot pink rain cover. After lunch, the trail also started going down again. Eventually, I reached a new wind farm.

By this time, I was quite tired and sick of the wind. It got so bad that at one point I yelled some obscenities out loud directed at the wind. My body was sore too having to use different muscles to keep me upright and balanced.

As Bob Seger did long ago, “I began to find myself searchin, Searching for shelter again and again.” There were not any good spots, and so I trudged onward. Finally, the trail descended enough to an area where there were some level spots. I am still well within this enormous wind farm and can hear the turbines above, but found a spot that’s well protected.

I stopped hiking around 5:00 and was beat. Normally, I’m pretty good at setting up my tent right away, just in case it started raining or something, but not this time. I just sat and checked stuff on my phone for a long while. Eventually, I got set up. I was both physically and mentally drained and so I truly enjoyed resting up in my tent. I even watched a movie since I had good coverage and felt like zoning out a bit. Looking forward to a town stop tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “Day 44 (May 21): Mile 539.9 – 558

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