Twenty Miler on Day 20
Beginning Elevation = 2,500
Ending/Peak Elevation = 7,800
Weather: Sunny, few clouds, high 85°F
The day after I posted my message on the PCT 2019 Facebook group page, I checked to see if anyone had responded. I was shocked to see a whole thread of comments discussing the rescuing of my friend from the mountain. When I did my original post I was hesitant and careful not to joke about something like this since there are posters up of an actual hiker missing in the area from 2017 and someone missing who’s truck broke down on the mountain roads just this past January too. The facebookers either didn’t care or didn’t know. Anyway, two folks said they planned to summit the next day and would look for Sumi! There is hope!]
I was first to leave our campsite around 6:20am. I only hiked about twenty minutes when I came to the Whitewater River. I put my pack down and began exploring to see if there was a good spot to cross. I ended up finding a “bridge” across in the form of three logs. I cooked some oatmeal (peaches and cream) and soon saw Snickers and Ally. I waved them down and told them about the crossing.
Before I went across though I felt the urge to have a boat race, as I do from time to time. Thus, I picked up three premium sailing vessels and let my competitors choose: Ally chose the medium sized driftwood, Snickers chose the pine cone, which left me the extended model driftwood with 24″ hull. I went upstream and let them loose. It was a tight race, but Snickers pine cone had the lead out of the gate and never looked back.
After safely crossing the river, we got water filled and continued on. We followed the footsteps and soon realized we had lost the actual trail. We were following the river valley, but were supposed to have just cut across it. We back tracked and found the trail in no time.
After leaving the river valley, we started climbing. I saw some new flowers and a special siting, a men’s size 17 wide boot (wish I knew the story here)! Eventually, we split up. Snickers was moving a bit slower after his big day yesterday, I was somewhere in the middle, and Ally was out in front like Bobby Bushay.
Since I was without my hat and was low on sunscreen, I switched into hide from the sun mode around 10:00am. It was already feeling really toasty and I was sweating like a banshee (I think we all know how sweaty they get), the most I’ve sweated on the journey yet. Here was my newest look for covering up.
I came across this poor bloke, a wooden legged pirate buried upside down in the sand.
And finally got a butterfly to calm down enough for a photo op
And then I made it to Mission Creek. Once down to it, there were a good number of folks hanging either by the stream or in shade of trees. I dipped my feet. Stretch (shown) and Snickers (not shown) went for the full lay down technique. They’re very wise, I’ll learn from them and follow their lead on the next hot stream day.
And I got to witness Snickers eating a Snickers in the stream (he first cooled his candy down in the stream so it wasn’t all melty…brilliant).
Ally and I left to go onward hoping to go a ways and then find a lunch spot near the creek further up. The trail followed the creek for 4 miles or something and crossed it numerous times. The trail was also washed out and non-existent at times. The first two crossings I made it without getting wet, but on the third, I joined the others and just walked through with shoes and socks on.
We stopped for a late lunch, then I proceeded onward solo. Early on in the day I had gotten the idea of doing my first twenty mile day on day twenty, very poetic right? Progress was slowed by this dang creek though. It was nice to have a constant water source though I suppose.
Eventually, I began leaving the creek and climbing upward steadily. Seth Rogen was nearby trekking along and you might not think it, but he can do some serious hiking.
My plan to set out and do 20 miles was, upon reflection, rather stupid. This was not a great day to do so due to the difficulties with the creek and the big climb. That being said, I knocked it out and accomplished my goal! At exactly 20 miles I found a great spot and stopped. I believe I got that stubbornness out of my system and look forward to having some lighter days heading into Big Bear.