- Date: Thursday June 11, 2015
- Miles hiked: 4.9 PCT miles
- Miles covered: 1017.10 to 1022.00 PCT
- Weather Report: Low 45, High 75. The weather changed dramatically: the remnants of Hurricane Blanca have left the area, and the day was sunny and warm in Tahoe and during the evening hike. Little to no wind, hike temperature right around 55, even after sunset.
- Wildlife seen: Mosquitos, a marmot
- Mood of the day: Happy and really enjoying dry feet and a lighter pack
Oof. That was a big meal last night at Montblue! I slept in until 7, then puttered about Dave's house, sorting things, uploading pictures and writing, drying out the tent, doing nothing much really.
The weather report for Tahoe shows temperatures around 45 at night and 80 during the day for the upcoming ten days--whoo hoo, summer might just be finally here! No rain in sight, not even afternoon thunderstorms, sunny and dry. Much better than that 40 degree drizzle I walked through yesterday.
We cruised back to Montblue for lunch--hey, it's senior Thursday, and food is 50% off--where I enjoyed Azteca tacos and a margarita, and we both ogled the new gaming machines with curved LED touch displays or dual depth displays or dual monitors or whatnot. The machines looked pretty spiffy, it must be interesting working at the company that makes them, IGT in Reno.
Some final packing, and we got on the road back to Sonora Pass; Dave has earned his karma points on his shuttling for sure and I'm really appreciative. Unlike yesterday, it was clear and dry, and I really enjoyed the road through all those eastern Sierra towns like Markleeville and Walker and the like; it made me want to ride them on a motorcycle, maybe in the fall when the aspens are all changing and the air is crisp.
We turned of 395 to Sonora Pass after a sign that said "Los Angeles, 499 miles", that's far away! A few miles before a pass we came across a truck that had jackknifed across the highway at a particularly hairy curve; what was that guy doing? He did have Texas plates; that road is no place for any 18 wheeler with its tight curves and 23% grades.
We scooted around him up an embankment and Dave dropped me off at the trailhead parking lot, where a trail angel had set up some treats!
I was a bit reluctant to go over and say hi--hey, I was clean and dry and laundered--but one of the angels came over and said "are you a thru-hiker?" and I said "yep", so suddenly Dave and I were invited to eat cookies and cake and cherries and strawberries at the table with the little placard "Sonora Pass Cafe". I really enjoyed the treats, thank you Owl from Palo Alto and Legend.
Another thru-hiker was there, Sage, and he was interested in getting up the trail and camping, so we hiked together for the evening.
It was a great night, the sun was scooting around behind some thin clouds, casting a golden glow over the snowy landscape of Sonora Pass, and the trail wound up the mountain north of the pass to wonderful views (and pictures!) We chatted about all sorts of things; plants and how we found the PCT and the people along it so far. Sage was particularly taken with how interesting and green the southern California section was, with flowers and forests that he didn't expect at all, and he wished he hiked with me there so I could name the plants :-)
After cresting at 4 miles or so, the trail crested with views off to the northwest down the valley, then descended down through a fair bit of snow. We looked for a campsite but the ground was very soggy, so we decided to keep going another mile, mosty through a snowfield that thankfully was more consolidated snow than punch-through postholing. It was a bit tiring, and I was worried we wouldn't find much, but right at mile 1022 (and right after I dug out my headlamp) we found a space for two tents just off the trail and set up for the night.
I really enjoyed the evening hike; it was warm and fun to hike with Sage and I'm looking forward to a nice relaxed hike tomorrow with him.