I’m happy to report I finally have a decent connection and plan to do a dump of posts! Now you can binge read just like a newly dropped Netflix series.
Hiker Act 2: Back in The Habit
Beginning Elevation = 5,250
Peak Elevation = 7,300
Ending Elevation = 5,300
Weather: Sunny, few clouds, mid 60’s, great!
Father and I slept in til around 5:30am. Took some showers, had some coffee and hard boiled eggs for breakfast, then finished packing up and were out the door by 6:40am. We met Kool-Aid out in the parking area and walked together to the bus stop, a 0.7 mile walk according to Google Maps. We found another hiker there and arrived about fifteen minutes early.
Around 7:20am, the little short bus came, we paid out $3 each, and piled in. We actually filled all the seats when we got on (there were a few other hikers and some local folks). It was a pretty long ride, at least a half hour. But it brought us right to the trailhead where I’d gotten off a few days prior.
Here’s the team ready to set off for round two of hiking on the PCT together! We were motivated and ready for action.
The trail went up steep right away, but it was no match for the Master Trailsman! Soon, we said goodbye to the highway…
The steepness lessened, but for the first 8 miles the general trend was up! Yikes, a rough stretch to start on. We took it slow and steady and took breaks to look out at the views.
We crossed several of what we called rock slides, narrow vertical bands of loose rock cobbles. Here’s a shot looking back at where we’d come and you can see a few…
It was just dad and I hiking together, Kool-Aid had gone ahead pretty early on, but he did hold up throughout the day for us to catch up at various spots. After the first 8 mile climb, we had lunch together at the “peak” (it wasn’t an actual mountaintop, but rather just where the trail switched to a descent, although there were some nice views from our spot). Snickers and Grit even stopped by while we were lounging. They chatted for a bit, then continued on. I expect we won’t see them til Kennedy Meadows. They’re both pretty quick hikers.
The downhill was a good change, but also more apt to cause us bodily soreness and potentially blisters. At one point, dad added some moleskin, but was happy to see no blister yet. It was very nice to have my flower spotter back again. We located several new species that I likely would have missed on my own.
Around 4:30pm-ish we reached a water source that had been our goal to reach for the day. We found Kool-Aid laid out on the ground waiting for us in the shade. After a quick app check and discussion, we decided it had been a full day already and that we’d go the short bit further to another water source and tent sites. This was about a quarter mile off trail down to Joshua Tree Spring.
The trail down was pretty steep. We tried not to think about how miserable it would be starting out the morning going back up. We set up our tents in the flatest spots we could find, but at least for me, there was quite the significant slope. I also commenced to filling up water for us. Meanwhile, dad was assembling various nearby rocks to form a kind of stone chair, back rest included and everything.
Dinner would turn out to be quite the culinary experience. Our first course was interrupted quite abruptly during the chefing process…major chocolate pudding explosion! Like before, dad had created a pudding mixture that just takes a bit of water. They’re delicious. This time however, during the mixing process, dad must have squeezed the Ziploc bag a little too aggressively and it squirted out all over his shorts, legs, and sitting pad.
What an ordeal to clean up, luckily we had a spring with water flowing out to help. About 10 minutes later, I did my own version of pudding explosion…butterscotch, although mine was just a few spots on my sleeping pad. I cleaned it up good so the bears wouldn’t want to lick it off later during the night. I hear they’re big butterscotch fans.
Other than these minor set backs, dinner was a hit for all! Dad had concocted a way for us to have mashed potatoes with gravy and chicken, which was super good.
Kool-Aid also had a gourmet meal of tortellini and pesto sauce. While eating and hanging out, several other hikers came and ended up setting up, despite the whole area being slanted. It was a great night sharing stories. I did a good amount of listening seeming as both dad and Kool-Aid have lots of good ones to tell.
Dad had a bit of leg cramping, but having experience in this area, he soon worked it out and attempted to drink some more water to get hydrated. We were all pretty tired and ready for a snooze.