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2010 August 6
by Elizabeth

It’s amazing how after five or six days without a shower how EVERYTHING smells like bugspray, sunscreen or body odor. Even after you wash it. Of course, by wash I mean wring it out in a cold stream as many times as you can before losing feeling in your hands.

For me, not showering for days and days at a time is one of the hardest things about backpacking. On most trips we usually only go 2-3 days without showering or at least swimming in a nice river or lake, but the second half of the JMT is very remote and the streams are very cold. Once we leave the Muir Trail Ranch, there are no more towns or even buildings. If we want to get off the trail we will at the very least be two days away from a town.

I was very close to quitting at the Ranch. Being dirty and gross didn’t much help my motivation plus I’ve been having lots of problems with my feet- lots of blisters and my pinky toes are red, swollen and seemingly infected. The duct tape I’ve been using seems to be making matters worse and my sore achilles tendons are making it hard to do any of the climbs and we’ve been having anywhere from 2-3,000 feet in elevation gains a day, sometimes in just a couple miles. The Ranch is the last easy place to quit and we’d be able to get to a town in probably less than a day. The next “escape” route off of the JMT will be in two days at Bishop Pass then again in five days at Kersarge Pass. Each of those alternate routes will then take two to three days to reach a town. We’ve decided to take it a day at a time and re-evaluate once we get to Bishop Pass. Here’s hoping that my feet will heal up some in the next couple of days.

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