Day 166 (Oct. 3): Mile 1,038.3 – 1,016.9

How Neat Is That?

Beginning Elevation = 8,300
Ending Elevation = 9,650
Elevation Range = 8,150 – 10,550
Weather:. Sunny and clear, breezy, low 25°F, high 55°F (+/- 5 °F)

It was crazy how it being a little warmer waking up allowed me to get moving more like normal. My alarm went off around 6:00am and I left at 6:50am. Despite it being a climb, I still went for my cold weather clothes. It was beautiful right away and stayed that way the whole day.

Here’s looking back towards camp, I tented right at the base of the first tall one down in those trees.

I often am taking pictures just of the views out and so here’s some shots of what the trail itself looks like. The mountain views photo-bomb the trail sometimes though.

I started taking pictures of the different bark I’ve been seeing yesterday and did more today. There is quite array of types. Here’s what I came up with…

And while checking out the bark, I saw these bear scratch marks (I think)!

And later, what I’m quite certain were some bear tracks (maybe a cub?).

A bit before lunch, I started going down into a gorgeous valley/canyon. I was cruising along traversing along my relatively gentle side of the valley and kept looking across to the other side, but trees were obstructing my view. Until…

I was loving this hike down. The opposite canyon side was just mesmerizing. I had a very present feeling once again of, “Are you kidding me?” And then, the trail would throw some new view or slightly different perspective and I’d just laugh in awe.

Like, sure, why not throw some Aspen’s into the mix. This next video is for Abe H and Scotty P…

Didn’t get the dialogue down, kinda botched it. I’ll have to do better next go around…how neat is that?

I had a nice lunch in this area that was blocked from the wind pretty good. It had super-sized boulders surrounding and even a form fitted chair just my size! If I had a giant named Grawp for a half-brother, he could fit in the “boulder chair” behind me too (I hadn’t done any HP references for a while and that just slipped out, my apologies).

My wonderful lunch break had been just at the start of my big climb. I’d be returning to the lands above 10,000 feet elevation! On went some audio, playing the noise of instruments into my earbuds. Here’s going up to what I thought was the top saddle.

And looking back…

Turns out that was a false summit. Rather than the trail peaking in elevation, it flattened out and gave me a spectacular photo of Wolf Creek Lake down below.

Then, it climbed up further on the side of Sonora Peak. Luckily I didn’t go up to the summit as it looked rather intimidating and it was super windy already. I did put on the ole rain jacket. I had sent the poncho home in South Lake Tahoe and was thankful for having made this tactical decision!

Not much of a video, but shows how windy it was going through the “pass”…

The sites going down were wonderful, ending with a nice rolling hills prairie forest (I think that’s the technical term for it). Saw a deer butt too.

Around 4:19pm, I reached Highway 108 and Sonora Pass! I set up to hitchhike. There weren’t many cars going through, but I got a ride with maybe the third one about 10 minutes after trying. This would turn out to be the most scared I’ve been in this journey yet! The younger guy who picked me, David, was flying down the mountain roads. I most certainly should have said something, said I’d walk, whatever, but I was too socially awkward to confront the situation. I’m not proud of my lack of action. And so we kept cruising on down the mountain going Mach 37.

I was happy when we were stopped due to road construction. It was one of those where the road is closed except for one side going through at a time. So we stopped, waited for 20 minutes or so, and then followed along the road construction truck. Hooray for that. I got dropped off at the junction to Kennedy Meadows Resort. I had a half mile or so walk, but half way, got picked up by a lady who worked at the resort. I hadn’t even been trying to hitch.

And I made it… alive! They had a dorm style setup were I could stay and have use of their laundry facilities, shower, and I’d be right above the store where I could resupply. And, next to the restaurant! A one stop shop!

A hiker named Fritter, who I’d seen several tmes on my journey but hadn’t really talked to much showed up too. He’s heading north at the moment to try and finish up, so I got some info. about what his last section had been like over dinner. Like the first Kennedy Meadows when I was going into the Sierra Nevada, I once again felt compelled to respect the mountain range by having a beer with its namesake…

Fritter and I were the only two PCT’ers in the dorm and after chatting a while, we both ended up doing our own thing before calling it a night. It was a nice rest up and a chance for me to look ahead. Things had gone well so far with the cold temps. and the forecast looked promising going forward, so I felt comfortable continuing on to try the next section.

Today’s Music/Podcasts:

The Avett Brothers – Live Vol. Four

American Speeches for an Educated Public – 1967 MLK: A Time To Break Silence

4 thoughts on “Day 166 (Oct. 3): Mile 1,038.3 – 1,016.9

  1. Ruth Prins

    I appreciated your photos of the various types of tree bark. Trees are as diverse and unique as people almost. cool.
    I admire your determination to give it your best. After the goodbyes, I can really imagine how kind of deflating it might have felt. 🙁

  2. Steven you are a trail mountain man warrior ranked up there with the likes of squonto and Jerimiah Johnson! It amazes me that you see and live out those conditions and just keep going. Super excited that you are pushing onward. You got this by the horns!! Go get em Stevie Wonder.

  3. Luke Medema

    Mach 37 sounds pretty intense, and we all thought the trail was the treacherous part of the adventure lol. Glad you made it!

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