Oh, the Brutality

It was a hot day with a fantastic swim in the Middle Fork of the Feather River.

Then Jen walked my ass off.


Our goal was to get in 23 miles for the day.  We had a cruisey 15 miles for the first part of the day, arriving at the Middle Fork of the Feather River by mid-afternoon. It was another warm day and I knew we had a climb coming, so I announced that I was going for a swim.  Jen thought that was a good idea, so we took a break.  Can you blame us?


Sitting in the sun and drying off, I looked at the upcoming profile. As expected, we had the climb out of the river valley.  But I hadn’t noticed the huge climb of a few thousand feet behind that stood between us and our planned campsite.

I kept quiet.

We made the 600′ climb out of the river valley and at the top Jen expressed that she was happy that was over.  So I let her know that it was just the appetizer and showed her the upcoming profile.

“Well, it doesn’t look like we’re getting in 23 today”, she said.

I responded “get after it”.

My mistake.

Imagine a fully loaded logging truck trying to keep up with a sports car on a steep, windy mountain road.

Over the next four hours she drug me 9 miles to the campsite, up 4,100′ with about 1,500′ of descent thrown in just to keep it interesting.

If you were doing the math, you’ll note that by the time we got there, we had 24 miles under our belt.

Of that 9 miles, I hung on as well as I could. At about the 7 mile point, and interesting event happened.  My glutes decided they had had enough and went on vacation. They no longer wanted to take part in moving my legs.

Of all of my years of endurance shenanigans, the marathons and ultra-marathons, the long course triathlons and the 24 hour bike races, I had never experienced such a thing. There wasn’t any pain, just no go.

It took me almost 40 minutes to climb the last 9/10 of a mile.  But we made it to camp, got set up, fed and in bed before hiker midnight  (9 pm).

Day 101 – 24 / 1,256

We were both feeling the effort of the day before.  It was a “listen to the body” kind of day.


We were in camp, fed and asleep well before sunset.

Day 102 – 18 / 1,274

We were looking forward to getting into Belden, as the PCT routed right through the town resort and we could take two steps off the trail and be in the restaurant.

But a conversation with a friend meant a shuffle of our resupply schedule so we could meet her before she left for vacation.  That meant resupply in Belden, a town not meant for resupply.

On the way in we mulled our limited options while dreading the return of poison oak.


Once in town and fed, we pondered how to get to the closest convenience store, a couple of miles down a two lane road that is bounded by a river on one side and steep hillside on the other, both lanes full of speeding logging trucks and summer tourists.

Thankfully a local trail angel stopped by to drop a package for two fellow hikers.  We explained our situation and 10 minutes later we were at her house sifting through the hiker box.  Resupply complete without spending a nickel, plus a ride back to the trail. Perfect!

The remainder of the day was a long hot climb out of the river valley, heavy with the new resupply and good food in our bellies.

Day 103 – 17 / 1,291

Please help us help the PCT Association as they work to protect and maintain this precious resource: http://tinyurl.com/le5cu9j


3 thoughts on “Oh, the Brutality”

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