It hadn’t rained at all during the night, although with the amount of condensation on the tents the following morning one could have been forgiven for thinking it had. The forest was soaking from the hard rains of the previous days, and we were thankful that we had inadvertently timed it just right.
We ate breakfast under the soaking tarp and packed away our wet gear in preparation for the days’ adventures. We planned on covering 9 miles today, which would take us to around the 12 mile point and keep us on track to reach the truck by the end of the week. We were wrong!!
By now everybody had trail names, which is customary for just about everybody who steps onto a trail. The nickname generally describes something that happened to the hapless hiker during their travels, and we were no different.
Cesar was Scales because of his encounter, and fear, of the minuscule snake on the Lost Coast Trail. Also from the Lost Coast Trail, I was christened Wipeout because of the wave that knocked me over head first into the freezing surf. Jeremy was now known as Pyro due to his considerable fire starting capabilities, and his consistent, if futile, efforts in never giving up trying, even when the forest is soaking wet and fire starting is almost impossible.
Before we left, we walked back to Frogs Bayou one more time to pay homage to the raging torrents we had crossed the day before. The river was higher and deeper than when we crossed it, and we were so glad that we didn’t have to face it again this morning.
Immediately after setting off we heard the telltale sound of running water and knew that we were facing another river crossing straight off the bat. I groaned at the thought of how painful my feet had been during the crossing of Frogs Bayou, and prepared myself mentally for the torture to begin again.
As it turned out, this time the creek was small and not difficult to cross at all, so we were all breathed a sigh of relief and carried on our merry way.
As the morning progressed the weather got warmer and warmer. I don’t know exactly how warm it finally got, but a good guess would be in the mid 70’s. It was a beautiful day, and we shed layers of clothing as it got warmer.
We had only been walking for a short time and I was already slowing down and finding it very difficult. My fitness levels were nowhere near good enough, and I was starting to really dislike the heavy lump on my back. The only consolation I got was looking at the Wooly Mammoth sized pack Jeremy was hauling around – that thing gave me chills just looking at it!!
By the time we reached Jacks Creek at mile 9.4 we were exhausted. The crossing was typically cold, but it actually felt good because the weather was so warm. My legs were heavy and I couldn’t walk another step. I can never remember a time when I was more fatigued than I was at that moment.
After a few despairing looks, we decided to make camp at a flat spot near Jacks Creek. We had fallen short of our target today, but it didn’t matter. We would try to make it up tomorrow. I was done for the day.
After dinner Jeremy tried to start a camp fire. Because everything was so wet he struggled to get it going, but eventually it took hold. I was so exhausted that I hardly even noticed. As soon as I’d eaten dinner I went to my tent and collapsed in a heap, never to move again until the morning!!
As I lay there contemplating the day’s events, I knew that I had seriously over packed and that I was now paying the price. I vowed not to classify this trip as a failure (gear wise), but to treat it as a steep learning curve, and to mark it as a turning point in my evolution to becoming a lightweight backpacker. It was at this moment when I labeled the trip our “Glorious Failure”, because no matter the lessons learned, we were still having a fantastic, life changing experience.
I slept hard all night, and woke up the next morning ready for another hard day. Until I made the mistake of moving!! Then I knew I was in trouble.