Ballard and Walker: PCT Thru-Hikers

Day in the Life

July 23, 2000—Day 77—Between Belden Town and Old Station, California—Duffy's Diary: For most people, Sunday is a day of rest. But not for the Pines. We may be on an extended vacation from real life, but we seem to have picked a holiday that doesn't allow for much free time.

If you haven't done much thru-hiking, let me give you an idea of the daily schedule our "vacation" has led us to adopt. The following is a chronology of Sunday, July 23, Day 77 on the PCT:

4:45AM: Angela's wristwatch alarm goes off. I barely sense the distraction and continue to sleep. Angela doesn't move either. Yesterday we actually managed to get up at this absurd hour to tackle a brutal climb out of Belden Town, but the hangover of the uphill effort clearly won't allow a repeat performance.

5:15AM: My watch alarm goes off and neither of us stir.

5:48AM: Early dawn light succeeds where electronic beeps failed, and I start to rouse myself.

5:51AM: I gently nudge Foxtail Walker and she gives an unhappy chirp.

5:55AM: Angela and I enjoy breakfast in bed—two packs of strawberry Pop Tarts, cracked and crumbled like old pavement.

6:01AM: I spin around in the tent, swinging my legs over a ducking Foxtail, and my feet land just outside. I remove my SmartWool socks and stare at my dirty dogs—for a moment I think my prayers have been answered: I have received a lower extremity transplant from Maurice Green (purportedly the world's fastest man, who today will be facing off with Michael Johnson in the 200 meters). I shake out my socks, sending a waft of dust into the brisk morning air, and reach for my shoes.

6:02AM: The Moaks, Fallingwater and Drip, are a father-son hiking team who had slept up the forested saddle from us. They wave as they pass our tent and start their hiking day. Like us, they are hoping to cover 30 miles today and pull into Old Station (a three day, 88.4 mile journey from Belden Town) tomorrow evening.

6:41AM: We finish packing up camp, help each other hoist our mobile homes, and utter our hiking equivalent of "Gentleman, start your engines":

"Let's roll, Lodgepole."

"Time to bail, Foxtail" [MORE. . .]

Read the Pines' PCT numbers that matter.

Duffy and Angela are losing weight! Check out what gear they've dropped. Also see their original gear lists.


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