I slept a couple hours, then woke up and checked my watch. It was still only 11:55pm! Sweet. I was up throughout the night after that though because I couldn't sleep on my side. The thin "mattress" under the sleeping bag was generally adequate, but not kind to hips.
Woke up for good at 4:40am on account of the porters. Official wakeup 5am. Porter unzipped my tent and gave me a cup of coca tea. Again, it was difficult to apply deodorant, put in contacts, change solution, change socks and change undies in the dark in a cramped tent. So difficult that I skipped the undies part. We're all getting filthy on this hike. Clean undies on a stinky undercarriage are pointless.
Breakfast 5am. Porridge and an omelette. Good food so far. And more coca tea. This would be the key to ascending Dead Woman's Pass. Someone was snoring all night and there was a discussion about this. From where I was I knew it was definitely not anyone in the single tents (me, Alex and Kelly) but Roger insisted that it was a single person. Someone proposed the existence of a second and a third snorer. Was the Corsican mafia or Keith Hernandez involved?
I remembered a dream I had about a cheat/Easter egg code I discovered for a WWE video game. The game started with some black military chick associated with Ted DiBiase. But I woke up just as we were starting to follow the instructions.
Three uphill stages today: 300 m, 500 m and 400 m. The first one went 6:30am to 7:10am. It was supposed to take 1:15 but we did it in 40 minutes. We're so fit!
The second stage was the toughest. Went 7:40pm to 8:40pm, from 3300 m to 3800 m. Debbie, Kelly and I languished at the back with frequent stops. I was pushing on my leg as a crutch. No altitude problem, just weak legs. I thought we were falling way behind but got to the second rest stop (Llulluchapampa) 5 minutes after everyone else.
Llulluchapampa rest stop. I bought a Coke here. Last vendors of any kind for a while.
The final stage to Dead Woman's Pass wasn't as difficult. Easier on the legs. This went 9am-10:20am, climbing from 3800 m to 4215 m, the highest point of the hike. Coca tea, coca leaves and Coca-Cola helped greatly.
Looking back from the final ascent. This just went up and up and up. Somewhere around here a barely-legal blonde powered past us. We later saw her at the top waiting for the rest of her group. My hat is off to powerful barely-legal blondes.
FUCK YEAH. Made it to the top! Kelly and I (the oldsters) got up there and the rest of the group was waiting, except for Roger, Debbie, Dimas and Edith. I just didn't want to be last. A lot of old people (60s and 70s) were surprisingly making it to the top without struggling. Of course, Joe Namath couldn't care less about old people struggling. Meanwhile, so many people I know in LA who are younger than me would not have made it. Fat fucks. I'm so spry. Enjoying my health while I can. I'll be old someday.
My JanSport bag was so soaked with sweat that my notebook was wet all the way through, and the bottom few lines of every page were disintegrating. Hopefully I don't lose any witticisms.
From Dead Woman's Pass. The valley we're about to descend into.
Kelly declared me her official photographer. Apparently my photos of her are coming out OK. That's odd because normally when I take photos of people on hikes they're not very good. Maybe it just depends on the subject. You know who you are. Ha!
Our group at Dead Woman's Pass. Dimas and Edith were taking a bunch of photos and I tried to smile for each one, but obviously I'm faking it here.
Our group again.
Sophie (was your knee brace smiling the whole time?), Dimas and Edith.
From here we obviously had to go downhill, and this was even tougher than uphill. We immediately descended 600 m on rocks and steps, and my knees took the brunt, and so did my right triceps on account of the walking stick. One of my knees used to get sore on downhill hikes and I was curious as to whether this would recur or if it was an injury that healed itself.
Looking back at a waterfall on the way down. That path is not easy on any part of the body. Fucking Incas. My walking stick was making a metallic sound as it hit every step. The tip of the pole was poking through the rubber (TWSS). The English girls said that going down is boring and hard on the knees (TWTS). I saw bloody tissues around here and then a trail of blood drops that went on for a while. Blood!
Sophie, Rosie and I (not sure why I was in the back on the way down) arrived at the campsite just as it started to rain. Perfect timing. The downhill segment was 11am-12:20am. We rested in tents briefly during the rain, then had lunch. Chicken in sauce, quiche, spaghetti.
After descending from the summit I felt my body bursting with extra red blood cells (maybe that explains someone else's blood trail) that I no longer needed. And extra semen! I always have more of that than I need, regardless of altitude. But you never know.
The campsite is next to a river/stream/creek, so the noise will literally drown out any snoring tonight. I think in terms of width, river > creek > stream. What throws this off is that the Wissahickon is technically a crick and not a creek. Irregardlessly, the water channel is loud enough.
Lunch ended 1:15pm. I walked down to the toilet. It was a squat with shit/mud all over the floor. I still didn't have any defecatory urge. Just peed. Came back up and rested in my tent, with my feet outside the tent. I didn't want to take my boots off because they're high (over the ankles) and it's a pain. I know, I'm whiny. I'm kind of a puss in boots. Speaking of which, what does any part of this video mean?
I rested 1:15pm-4:40pm. Didn't fall asleep. The internal monologue kept me engaged. There was a downpour for part of that interval. It ended just as I was writing this journal entry.
Teatime 5pm. After that I watched people play cards for a bit then joined in for a round of Shithead. I confused it with Asshole, which I remember from the Kuala Lumpur bar, but it's almost the same. I was the Shithead from that round.
Dinner 7pm. Stir-fry chicken. Watched some more card-playing 7:30pm-8pm, then to my tent. Bed 8:15pm. All these early nights and early mornings make me feel like those people who live too far from their job and have a 2-hour commute. The poor devils. That's death for the dead. It's all in the handbook. Keep moving.