Winter is Coming
Beginning Elevation = 3,400
Peak Elevation = 5,600
Ending Elevation = 4,700
Weather: 50-80°F ish, Sunny, thin wispy clouds
My neighbors for the night (I later learned their names – Echo and Ironman), who set up about 5′ away from me, had alarms go off at 5:20am and 5:25am. Then, they didn’t proceed to get up until around 5:50am…real cool guys.
I could handle it, no big deal, but what happened next really put a damper on my morning. I had been looking forward to my super duper gluten-free blueberry muffins…when I opened them for a pre-hike breakfast however, they were moldy 😢. Fail. I stepped on them in my Ziploc “trashbag” which helped alleviate some of my frustrations. Now they’d just be extra weight to carry.
When I started hiking around 6:30am, my neighbors were still packing up. The Michigan cowboy camping brothers had left at 6:00am. Right away, the trail began climbing…somewhat gradual, but constant. It did this for most of the day. I took this photo looking over the meadows from earlier, just after the sun had popped up…I walked until 7:30am through the chaparral stuff, then found a good place to stop because I felt a pinch in my toes and I was hungry. I thought today was going to be the day I went without moleskin completely, but it wasn’t destined to be. The blisters seem to be on the mend, but I strapped some on there to be safe. This was my healthy breakfast of champions: a mocha latte grande supreme (Carnation Instant Breakfast Chocolate flavored and Tasters Choice Instant Coffee combo) and some sort of Oreo looking Pop Tart.I took a lengthy hour-long break. Called my sister, got my toes ready for action, and perused on the phone for a bit. Then, got back on the trail feeling refreshed.
I think it was around 9:30am that I took off my pack, walked down a side trail and reached a water source. I filled my Smart Water bottle from just a tiny trickling stream and squeeze-filtered into my hydration bladder. A couple who’s names are Bluejay and Lisa filled up at the same time as me. They’re artist’s who live in Rhode Island.
Once back to the PCT I had my first cactus encounter…a prickly pear got me!I survived…barely. Up and up I went. Started to see a few pine trees and some great views…Then, at mile 121, I saw the snow covered mountains that I’ll be heading to soon. Dun dun dun (I think just the one on the right)The scenery became more mountainous looking, then dropped into boulder country for a short section, which was very cool.
I’ve always been a big fan of very large rocks, especially bubble-like giants like these. My natural instinct is to want to climb on top of them (I think it’s a survivalist trait that’s evolved over generations to avoid snakes), and so I did. One of the medium sized ones, not a jumbo. I sat up there and tried a new feature on my camera, not sure how it’ll show up on here.Around 12:22pm or so, I reached two hikers sitting in the shade of a large boulder – Snickers from Manhattan and Pegasus from Los Angeles(?). It was a great rest spot with some nice bench-like rocks for seats. They offered me a spot and I accepted. I grabbed some snacks (gushers and pretzel-cheese combos – keeping the healthiness going today) and relaxed for a bit with them. We ended up walking the next two miles and headed to Mike’s Place together down a side trail. Mike’s Place is essentially a guys house near the trail that is very hiker friendly, having drinks and occasionally making food for hikers (with suggested donation). It was an interesting place and I don’t think either of the two guys staying there were Mike. There were about 10 of us hikers though. I enjoyed a cold soda and a sit in the shade.
At 2:45, Snickers and I took off into the heat. Pegasus planned to stay and camp (some folks apparently camp right in the yard). I enjoyed talking with Snickers. He seems to be one of the most relaxed people I’ve met out here in the sense that he enjoys each section for what it is and isnt so much worried about getting the big miles in at this point. I have similar feelings. He hiked different sections of the Appalachian Trail over 19 years to complete it, and joked that he didn’t think he’d have another 19 to do the PCT, so he’s thru-hiking. He got his trail name when hiking on the AT with his daughter and must have heavily relied on the candy bar for their rations. Snickers stopped around 4:00, and I kept going further. Here’s a view at his campsite, beautiful…The trail started descending right after splitting ways. The Ravens (crows?) were bringing tidings from the north…And I finally got a photo of one of these odd fellas. This is a really small one…Set up camp in a dumb spot. It’s flat, but surrounded by bushes and in the sand with no rocks to sit on.
Dinner was some spiral Mac, which I’d been looking forward to, with spam chunks. I bet your mouths are watering now. Mm mm mm.It was pretty good actually. I had a 3 Musketeers bar for dessert. I realize folks probably don’t care what I eat, but I’m just going to keep posting anyways so I can look back on it later to see. Had a nice sunset and full moon rise…