100 Miles on The PCT
Beginning Elevation = 3,300
Peak Elevation = 4,400
Ending Elevation = 3,500
Weather: Mostly sunny, gusty, 50-70°F ish
I slept in to a woping 6:15am. Began hiking approximately 15 seconds past 6:53am. It was a pleasant morning, calm and not too cold in our little “cove.” It was cold enough though that I opted to wear my beanie rather than my sun hat, so I tied it to the back of my pack.
We cruised along at a good pace right off the bat seeming as the trail was quite gradual. We were climbing slightly and continuing the trend of yesterday curving in and out of the mountain side, heading northeast parallel with the highway far down below. This area is called the San Felipe Hills.
Eventually, the trail turned inward and we got to see a slightly different view finally:Not too long after taking this video, we stopped because I had a hot spot in my heal. Sure enough, when I checked it out, there was an area that had been rubbing. I slapped some mole-skin on there and we were ready to go…didn’t feel it again all day.At this point, however, I realized my sun hat was no longer tied to the back of my pack 😟. Apparently, I’m not so good at tieing knots, because it had fallen off at some point in the first four miles of the day. It was rather gusty, so I assumed it probably got blown off trail never to be seen again.
I brushed off the setback and trudged onward. This nice white flowered hill side brightened my broken spirit some…About six miles in to our day, we reached a turn off to a water source. This had been our longest carry yet at 13 miles. We were low, so good timing. Sad, because our packs felt so light with so little water. We walked a quarter mile down hill to a spot where some folks had stocked a cache. We were very thankful for the water and added to the donation jar. Just as we were finishing up, another hiker came down (Fly from Slovakia), so I helped pour the lovely Kirkland bottles for him. Then, the three of us climbed back to the PCT. More hikers had shown up. Dad and I trekked on.
We caught up to another duo. They had just gotten done with a break and so were hiking just ahead of us a ways, but about the same speed as us. Selfishly, we thought this was a good strategy for snake patrol. Our strategy paid off! At a certain point, we could see them stopped ahead and the guy was reaching out with his trekking pole. When we got up to them, the snake had curled itself up against the base of a large rock. We all skirted safely around him.Then, the girl asked if we’d dropped a hat! Oh Happy day! I was very thankful and told her so…I later found out that they didn’t stop for water when we did, which was how they’d gotten ahead of us.
A bit later we made our lunch stop overlooking the enormous valley we’d been hiking in/around for the past three days.Lunch today was tuna salad that we concocted on crackers. Pretty tasty actually and complimented by a variety of snacks. The past couple lunches (post Mount Laguna) had been summer sausage and crackers.
After lunch, we reached the highest point for the day and then began our slow decent. At this point, we were doing some back and forth with Fly, and the super couple who saved us from the snake and got my hat back. The trail opened up to a new enormous valley.And then all of sudden, we reached the 100 mile marker of the trail! We thought this was quite the accomplishment. Neither of us had ever done anything close to that many miles on a backpacking outing before. We cruised another mile to camp at Barrel Spring. This was a very popular spot due to the continually running water out a pipe, and we counted 15+ hikers tented around the general area. We stopped hiking at 4:30pm getting 16.4 stinking miles in today.
After setting up camp and eating dinner (beef stroganoff – my favorite thus far) we had a chance to actually sit down and talk with be a few folks, which was a good time. We all agreed that today seemed to be a day with little change in scenery. I learned that the couple who saved my hat are married and from Indianapolis area. We also had a guy named Michael come into camp late, eat dinner, then set out to hike the 8 miles to Warner Springs into the dark. We’ve seen Michael a few times on the trail, he hikes in Crocs and got delayed a while back and is now trying to catch up with friends of his.
I’m hearing some small critters running around outside while I write this. Maybe since it’s a popular tenting area they’re on the prowl for hiker food! Hopefully, tomorrow’s post doesn’t start with a story about my food being stolen!