It’s been raining on and off all day long, so the tall, omnipresent underbrush is completely wet — which means your pants get soaking wet as you push past it. The trail’s overgrown, so you have to fight your way through said underbrush all the time. It’s warm enough out that putting on your raingear will just make you equally wet with sweat, so you leave it off…but this means your shirt gets wet as you brush past all the foliage, too. It apparently has been five years since a trail crew came through here, and there are trees down across the trail with increasing frequency — sometimes meaning you have to step over them carefully, but sometimes causing a dangerous detour up or down a steep slope. The slopes are really steep, and the trail’s impressively narrow — sometimes barely wide enough for your two feet if they’re pressed tight together. Of course, you’re also always either ascending or descending sharply, making you hard at work no matter what. Also, your toes are in blistering pain because your feet are soaking wet, and this makes your toes chafe hard against your shoes.
Oh, yeah: it’s getting dark, really dark, and the rain has come back.
Hiking the PCT is not always all beautiful views and great experiences. Today was, in all honesty, one of the most miserable days of hiking in memory — and quite possibly of the entire trail. It wasn’t just us feeling this way, either; the other hikers we’re camped with tonight said much the same thing. This section of trail would be plenty difficult no matter what, but the weather conspired to make it downright awful. We did a considerably shorter day than we originally planned, yet it took us an hour and a half longer than we wanted, putting us into camp after dark.
We did, in fact, get some amazing views earlier this morning, before the rain started and back when the trail was in much better condition. The sunlight was peeking through clouds in such a dramatic fashion, and it was as if it got better and better every time we looked around. That was amazing, and I won’t soon forget it. But as the day went on, it’s as if everything just got all the more difficult, incredibly fast. It seems ironic that it should come on a day when we don’t even have many days left in our entire trip — we’re so close to the end. Perhaps the trail is just trying to challenge us, hard, one last time? No matter what it is, I’m not a fan. I lie here in bed at night, just hoping that tomorrow is a whole lot easier.