Updated: Jul 10, 2020
Back on trail - and into the heat of Northern California. It is ‘in the nineties’ whatever that means. Blardy hot anyways.
You can tell lockdown has eased, or if it hasn’t, people are saying ‘bugger it’ because the place is heaving. The PCT shares the trail with a shorter 170 mile circular Tahoe Rim Trail, so there’s a ton of hikers stomping all over the place. You can tell who is PCT and who isn’t by the smell and look of us: we are tramps.
I was the first PCT hiker the unfurloughed rangers have met this year. This doesn’t give me any prizes, alas.
Today’s highlight was Dick’s Pass and Dick’s Lake, which I climbed first thing this morning. Unfortunately, I have new shoes, and even more unfortunately, Dick’s pass was covered in snow, which was, in fact, very slippery ice. And most unfortunate of all was my shoes have no grip. There’s a pun in there somewhere but it eludes me.
Aside from that, it’s still blardy hot. I have finally given in to the temperature and so arose at 4am, and got going by daybreak just before 5am. This has made me cranky all day, as has the heat. It is supposed to cool down again next week. I hope so anyway.
So another twenty miles in the pot today. Hope for the same tomorrow.
Today’s walk was both hair-raising, and, er, hair-raising - mostly because there were five plus miles of walking along a narrow ridge, 8,000 feet up, with steep slopes either side. I’m so glad it wasn’t icy, because it was a long way down if I fell!
And to top it off it was blowing a hoolie up there.
For sure I had to tread carefully, every time the ‘gust’ momentarily stopped, I momentarily put a foot close to the edge. And every time it blew, I blew the other way. Fun but frightening.
The wind has also blown away, albeit temporarily I’m sure, the mosquitoes and the ‘in the 90s’ heat. Today, we were ‘in the 80s’ and tomorrow, we’re going to be ‘in the 70s’. I feel like I’m travelling back through time! The wind also blew me 20 ½ miles today. Yay.
Bizarre day. The elastic on my hiking trousers failed (or I have miraculously lost two inches of weight from my midriff overnight following a curry dinner). It was particularly unfortunate as I was battling gale force winds on a ridge, with very steep slopes once again, and didn’t dare let go of my hiking poles for a moment, fearing instant death.
By the time I got back down to safety, I was the full MC hammer: knickers fully exposed.
Then I had lunch in a bar, which was utterly unexpected but very nice. I am supposed to be in the wilderness, but just occasionally we pop through a small hamlet. Today was one of those pops.
Then tonight I’m in a mountain hut. A very rare thing on the PCT. Although it’s very spooky being on my own here...And so to bed - which will still be my camping mat and sleeping bag, on the floor. Just no tent.
Woo-hoo, yippy yay - I did twenty-five miles today. Okay - all but six miles were downhill, and those six miles were split into three ups. Best of all, it was mostly soft, alpine-y loveliness all the way.
Doesn’t mean my legs down bloody ache like hell though. Still, I’m ten miles away from a town day - just a flying visit to gorge myself silly, and then fly out again early the next day because, well, you know, I’ve got a helluva lot of more miles to crush.
Back in the tent tonight. Rather glad - definitely less scary to sleep in than a rambling mountain hut, with a mouse who nearly got to my food!
Town day. There’s something about town days - I love getting into them, but hate the walk to them: I can never get here fast enough. Even though all I had a mere ten-mile, downhill stretch to complete, it always feels like it takes ‘forever’.
Today, of course, was particularly bemusing because having got here starving, I remained that way! Absolutely everything, and I mean everything bar the post office, was closed. No coffee shops, not grocery store, no restaurants had an open door. It’s a Tuesday. All the hotels are fully booked (I got the last room) but there’s a mysterious lack of people anywhere...
All part of the adventure, I guess.