You’ll Never Walk Alone
Beginning Elevation = 5,300
Peak Elevation = 7,000
Ending Elevation = 6,900
Weather: Mostly sunny turned cloudy, high in low/mid 70’s, 7 rain drops
We survived the night without any visits from critters hoping to lick up the pudding remnants from the night before. We had the usual noise that comes with having several nearby tenters (zippers opening/closing, air mattress’ crinkling, and an occasional fart to break any silence). Despite this and my slanting tent, I got decent sleep.
I woke around 5:45am and got out to use the great outdoors restroom. Upon returning to my tent, I noticed dad was already packing up. I commenced to doing the same as quietly as I could. We were both ready to go around 6:15ish and began our trek back up to the PCT. It was pretty brutal and we took several breaks even though it wasn’t all that long, just steep uphill. At 6:30am we’d made it to the junction and after another rest (and a first breakfast for me of a Complete Cookie and a Larabar), continued our journey north!
As we passed the sign for our spring, we noticed this sign that we’d missed the day before.
It’s fine. Probably…I mean yes there was a comment made in my app about trace levels of uranium in the water, but it’s ok. Nobody was glowing in the morning or anything.
It was chilly for maybe the first hour of the hike seeing as we remained in the shadow of the surrounding mountains.
Then, the sun peaked out and we warmed up quickly!
We delayered a bit.
Now today was a big day in the sporting world. The UEFA Champions League Final was to take place at noon Pacific time and mighty Liverpool F.C. would be taking on the Tottenham Hotspur F.C. I won’t claim to be a super fan or a truly loyal follower of the squad, but it has always been Liverpool for me when I do pay attention to games and what’s happening in their leagues. Today, I was ready for football day though!
The morning terrain consisted of a 750 feet climb, followed by a 750 feet descent down to a water source. Kool-Aid caught up to us at one point. He was struggling though and said he wasn’t feeling very good at all. We finished the walk to water together, Spanish Needle Creek.
Here, we stopped for a good long while and had breakfast. Delicious oatmeal was on the menu as well as a deluxe fancy Starbucks instant coffee. Pretty nice. Afterwards, we filled up water and filtered. Others joined us at the watering hole. I’m still in this mix of hikers who I’ve never met before, so it’s been interesting meeting new folks.
After breakfast, Kool-Aid left first, then dad and I followed soon after. The trail started climbing after crossing the stream and would continue to do so for the next 6 miles or so. It wasn’t too long before we caught Kool-Aid and then continued past him. This was a sign that he truly wasn’t feeling great. If he was, he easily could have left us in the dust. Soon later, we came across the biggest pine cones of the trail so far. Just look at these bad boys…
We saw some nice views on the climb up. And at certain points I had cell service and got to listen to the game (thanks to true fan Scott Prins for letting me know how I could get audio).
A little after 1pm we had lunch at this gem of a spot. Kool-Aid joined half way through.
Afterwards, we continued going up, then through a sort of pass, and then things seemed to become more gradual afterwards. I think it was about here that I was able to see the final score of the game (spoiler alert). Liverpool took it home, 2-0 and won the Champions League! Well done you lovely gentlemen.
Today on the trail I was Stevie G. Wonder! Oh Happy Day. As the ancient Englanders sing, “Walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone…”
The final stretch of the day was a pretty smooth walk and offered up some spectacular views looking east(ish) out to the flatlands. All around the clouds seemed to be getting darker and we could see rain falling.
And of the valley towards the west(ish)
We reached our goal for the day, hiking a little over 12 miles and making it to a camp site on top of a ridge just before the trail descends downward once again. As we walked up to the site, we felt a few rain drops, and hurried to set up quickly! We succeeded in setting up dry, despite some threatening thunder. It never really did rain much. Just a few blips of some drops.
Dinner was some Meijer mac and cheese with added summer sausage. Without a doubt the best tasting brand of mac. We also made it through without any pudding mishaps.
Dad even got to share some more of his gourmet backpacker food. A hiker named Pigeon from Oslo, Norway joined us. She tried some of dad’s Pistachio flavored pudding and was quite impressed.
Kool-Aid arrived during dinner too, but barely. He was still quite under the weather and had only made it this far so as to be closer to the water source tomorrow morning. Nevertheless, he was a good sport and joined us around the dinner area.
After dinner, dad had also some surprise entertainment for the group. Well, I guess it ended up just being me and Dave H, but it was a heated tournament of hop the frogs into the cup. I was actually thorougly beaten three games in a row by the master (best minute and a half footage of your life…maybe)
Many folks had joined the surrounding tenting area by the time we’d finished with food and games. Everyone seemed pretty tired though and was in the tents around 8:00 or soon after.