- Date: Wednesday June 17, 2015
- Miles hiked: 22.83 PCT miles
- Miles covered: 1100.48 to 1123.31 PCT
- Weather Report: Low 51, High 83. Sunny and warm and dry, with silvery high overcast in the morning and clear blue skies. Most of the day was hiking in the mid 70s to low 80s, a bit warm
- Wildlife seen: marmots, chipmunks
- Mood of the day: Energetic
I woke up at 5:15, and thought: IT IS TIME TO MOVE! Then I rolled over and slept another hour, and said to myself "IT IS REALLY TIME TO MOVE", and made my breakfast real quick and scooted. The mosquitoes were already up and biting at 6:30am, and the one way to get rid of them was to get a move on.
I not only slept really well, I felt well-fed and ready to go 20, 25, even 30 miles... and with no real agenda or timetable to keep, I said "Uh, why not see if I can walk 25 miles?", and that became what I was driving to all day.
The day was setup like a typical day in the high Sierra: a few miles walk to a pass, pop over, then a long section of little elevation change with a little bump up at the end. The pass in this case, though, was Dicks Pass, and it wasn't some 12,000 foot high monster; Dicks Pass stands at just 9377 feet high.
The four miles up to Dicks Pass were also very PCT-like, a long steady gentle ascent that started after circling around a pretty lake. It wasn't too long after that I was standing on a divide looking north, and wondering "is this the pass already?", but the true "pass" was another quarter mile further on, and was spectacularly undramatic, just a wide gravel field with trees on the sides blocking most views.
The trail went down from there, and I passed little groups of people heading up the pass: a church youth group, a group of real stoner-looking dudes taking a smoke break and passing around a pipe (they did offer, bless their hearts), a gaggle of Boy Scouts with some overweight assistant Scoutmasters panting, a couple with four tiny unleashed yappy dogs. Kind of a circus parade, it was a happy sunshiney day in the wilderness and everyone was having a good time in their own way, even those gasping assistant Scoutmasters.
A few miles north of Dicks Pass the crowds went away completely, and I hiked on my own for four or five hours without passing anyone at all. The forest had closed in, and it was just somewhat boring--the same look in all directions, granite boulders and fir trees and corn lilies in the wet spots, though you couldn't see more than 100 feet in any direction. A couple of times the trail went next to a lake which was a welcome change, but by and large it was monotonous.
I took a break in the middle of the forest for lunch--not that I felt I needed to, but simply to get some more food out of my pack. I'd been eating a lot over the past couple of days, and have been feeling more energetic and upbeat than usual, not so worn down. I decided to write down what I've eaten once I got to camp tonight; here's that list:
Last night's meal was really tasty: Tuscan Garlic and Tomato Ancient Grain Fusion, by Made in Nature, 8oz packet. The name is pretentious enough to make you puke, but it was so good I didn't even have to heat it, I just ate it straight from the packet (it was the heaviest dinner, of course it got eaten first!) Accompanied with Krave Turkey Jerky, Basil Citrus flavor, 3oz, about half that packet Clif Mojo Fruit and Nut bar, Wild Blueberry Almond flavor
This morning: Two oatmeal packets, plus 1 heaping spoon of Nestle Nido milk powder One Starbucks Via Columbia packet, plus a spoonful of Nido milk powder Clif Bar, Sierra Trail Mix
Lunch 3 packets of string cheese The remaining turkey jerky A banana ProBar Meal, Superfood Slam
Snack breaks through the morning and afternoon Clif Bar, Cool Mint Chocolate Clif Bar, White Chocoloate Macadamia Nut A couple of handfuls of Cheetos Half a king-size Snickers bar A handful of Costco Deluxe Mixed Nuts (cashews, pecans, macadamias, almonds, Brazil nuts) Camelbak Elixir electrolyte table, lemon lime flavor, in 1/2 liter of water
Dinner Near East Couscous box (the whole thing), roasted garlic and herb flavor The other half of the Snickers bar
That's quite a bit of food. I'm not feeling full though.
Anyways, during the afternoon I ran across a Forest Service crew with a big saw and lots of axes clearing downed treeson the trail. Yay. I thanked them profusely, too much probably, but thanks again guys (though only one of them was a guy.)
Then it was on to camp--the trail headed west for a bit, backlighting the wildflowers on the sides of the trail, with the lupines especially standing out. Looking at Halfmile's app, there weren't really many campsites past mile 1123, so I looked at the two options and chose the least buggy (and furthest) one, and called it a day. Not quite a 25 mile day, but I'll get one of those soon enough.
Tomorrow I'll be walking towards the Interstate 80 crossing at Donner Summit. I'm a little too far to do it in a day (it's 28 miles) but I'm really craving a beer and a burger and fries. Before that, though, the PCT goes through the Squaw Valley ski area, very close to the chair lifts... I wonder if they're running for summer mountain biking, and if so, I bet there's a tasty lunch down at some greasy grill. I'd certainly be up for that; take a chair lift to lunch and back sounds fun. If not, hmmmm... maybe I'll hitch a ride from the I-80 rest area down to Truckee and find a funky microbrewery or something. Or maybe I'll just do both :-)