- Date: Saturday July 11, 2015
- Miles hiked: 22.37 PCT
- Miles covered: 1521.02 to 1543.39 PCT
- Weather Report: Low 49, High 72, and cloudy all day with only a sunbreak or two. Really excellent hiking weather, most of the day the temperature was within a few degrees of 60F
- Wildlife seen: A couple of lizards, plus a few new wildflowers to me
- Mood of the day: Mellow and relaxed
Oh, was it refreshing to sleep in. I woke up at 5:30 when it was light out, and rolled over and went back to sleep until 7. I'm not in any hurry to get going today, even though it'll be a longer day.
I've given up worrying about miles, how many miles I need to make today, and that constant anxiety of not having enough time to make it to Canada. No more "my feet hurt, but I have to push another three miles otherwise I won't make it" or "I don't have time to put tape on that odd new hot spot because I won't make it to Canada" or "I really shouldn't stop in that town because it'll take to long to hitch back to the trail and I won't make it to Canada." That anxiety was motivating, for sure, but in the wrong way: it was motivating me not to rest when I should, or take a full day off, or even simply to enjoy the sights and the towns and the company of the hikers around me.
My days had been all about miles miles miles, and nothing else--but not anymore. I've made time--and I'm not going to be anxious and fearful for the next two months. Yep, I won't complete 100% of the PCT, but I'll have seen the overwhelming majority of it, and that's fine by me.
Today's PCT hike turned out to be really really easy: all of 1000 foot elevation change over 22 miles, on an excellently designed and maintained trail, in cool 58 degree cloudy weather that's not typical for July but greatly appreciated. We left our campsite at 9am, which is really late, and both decided that we needed more rest spots during the day, so every two hours we took off the packs and relaxed--first at White Ridge Spring, with its excellent cold water flowing freely out of a pipe in the mountainside, then a longish lunch break around 1:30 on a saddle overlooking Mt Shasta City... sadly we couldn't see the mountain much at all.
We passed lots of weekend campers around Deadfall lake, topped up with 4 liters of water at mile 1535, and headed in a big U shape along the 6800' contour around the headwaters of a drainage... and another easy walk to Chilicoot Creek, which supposedly was dry but had a bit of a flow, so much for lugging all that water! At least we didn't have to sit around camp and filter water, which is always tedious.
Tomorrow and the next day look like more of the same: just some fluttering around 6500 to 7500 feet, then on Tuesday a shorter day, maybe 10 miles or less, into Etna and its brewery. That's pretty motivating right there!