October 10th; 24 miles
Unfortunately, the weather was just as bad when we woke up as when we went to sleep. The rain had kept up full strength through the whole night. There was so much water that it had soaked through my tent so everything that was in contact with the floor or side of the tent was wet, which was in addition to my therma-rest only staying partially inflated, and since the rain never stopped, I had been holding in a pee for about 6 hours.
No one else had a really good night either and no one was in a mood to hike 24. I actually have a tendency to, when conditions are really miserable and close to rock bottom, start to get in a really good mood, in this situation figuring, “hey, I can’t possibly get any more wet!” and it was in this spirit that I started to shoot the idea around of just hiking the full 38 mile day to the end! I was feeling like hiking and it would be my last chance to beat my personal record. Even though it would have meant a few hours of night hiking, hey, it’s the last day anyway so who cares!
Unfortunately, Steiner was the only one even close to as enthusiastic as I was, so 24 it was.
It wasn’t that bad of a day in fact. It didn’t rain the whole time and there were even some good views for the second half of the day. It did get very cold though, and the rain eventually turned to snow. This was actually preferable though because, aside from the fact that it was a little too cold to take any kind of break, snow does t get you wet like rain. I also think it makes the landscape look fantastic.
We made camp by an alpine lake and the temperature kept dropping. It was manageable but we all got in our sleeping bags as soon as possible and tried no to leave. The next morning, there was a layer of frost over everything and all of our boots were completely frozen, so anyone who didn’t loosen their shoelaces the night before couldn’t get their feet in. Swiss miss had the most trouble with her double knotted shoelaces. It was so bad that I ended up boiling some water and pouring it on to loosen them up.
Swiss, who seemed to be having a particularly rough time with the cold and wet, developed a new motto for the group: just survive. It was the last 24 hours after all so all we had to do was make it! Just close your eyes and think of the party in Seattle!