Thursday, May 29, 2014

Day 32 - 40

Note: I forgot to mention that I have a trail name ---- Easy A ----

Day 32: PCT miles 566 to 590

Had to say goodbye to Lori today but not before going to the German bakery one last time. We had agreed to meet some hikers there to give them a ride to the trailhead as well.

At the trailhead

The morning clouds looked ominous but the temperature was cool and excellent for hiking. After a farewell to Lori, the four of us began the trail into the mountains. After climbing for a while to around 6000 feet the trail leveled off and we made excellent time. We had 17 miles to the next water, which was much better than the 35 I thought I would have to do.

A brisk breeze kept us moving but there were a couple of nice breaks to stretch and eat down some of our food bags. I was amazed at how much food Cheese packed, an impressive variety of goodies.

Cheese and Kyle

After a nice break at the water source, I decided to hike a couple more hours. Need to meet Lori in Lone Pine in seven days. One positive thing did happen, thanks to help from Jacob, I was able to get a deal on a pack from HMG which I hope will be more comfortable than what I currently have. In exchange for a nice discount, I need to write a review of the pack on my blog. I think that is more than fair.

Day 33: PCT miles 590 to 616

The day started out brisk and cool with thick clouds on the mountains. I had to pull out my umbrella as I walked up into the cloud layer, it was mostly mist but over time its easy to get wet.

Good hiking weather, cool enough that I didn't want to stop walking. I think this may be the last day in the land of windmills, I will be happy to get out of this windy area. But I can't complain, this section is known for being hot and dry but right now it is quite cool. That means less water to carry.

Young Oak walking into the mist

600 miles!

After a lunch break at a spring, I continued another 14 miles. Passed through some beautiful forests as well as one of my favorite parts of the trail so far. There was a two mile stretch of dead trees that looked like a skeletal forest with all these purple lupines blooming. I had to stop for a while, just to enjoy the scenery.

Day 34: PCT miles 616 to 641

A wonderful day today, again I am blessed with cool weather in the desert. There was even a brief shower, so that I pulled out my umbrella. I found a little trail magic as I climbed into the hills, some lovely person left a beer by the trail. Nothing like a breakfast beer to make the day even better!

Not normally a PBR fan, but hey its all about the timing

I had some issues with my cell phone reception, it indicates that I have coverage but actually does not. Frustrating and I am not the only one with this problem, I bumped into Thor and Ferntoe again, they were having the same issue.

Camped in a burn area tonight, thick thorny shrubs dominate. But there are nice flat areas to be found. Camping alone but Young Oak from Brittany is nearby.

Day 35: PCT miles 641 to 665

It rained last night. I had planned on sleeping under the stars but as soon as I was in my bag I started to feel drops. I hastily set up my tarp and put everything under it. The tarp is not large but it all fit. I fell asleep to the patter of raindrops.

Because some of my things were damp, I had a slow start and was not on the trail until seven. The first 10 miles down to Walker Pass were downhill and went fast. There was some trail magic at the campground and I ended up staying for close to two hours.

Nice trail magic at Walker Pass

With the late start and long break, it was difficult to do the 25 miles I had planned before dark. Had to climb right back up 2000 feet then drop back down again to reach the spring. After cooking dinner and filtering water, I hiked a little further until I came to a nice campsite with a view of the sunset. There is supposed to be a meteor shower tonight, I probably won't be able to stay awake long enough to see it. One thing is for sure, I get so tired that sleep comes early and easily.

Day 36: PCT miles 665 to 693

Lots of up and down today. Slow going on the uphill but fast going down. Not so far between water sources, 5 miles in the morning and then 10 miles to the second and 13 to the third. This is the last time I will need the water report. After today water should be plentiful. I don't think I will need to carry more than 2 liters for a while.

Made it to Kennedy Meadows, gateway to the Sierras. I am pretty excited to have made it through the desert. I really enjoyed the desert section. It was more beautiful than I expected but I am ready for the Sierras.

view coming down into Kennedy Meadows

I will stop off at the Kennedy Meadows store tomorrow to pick up my resupply, maybe I can get a shower too! Then it is off to meet Lori in Lone Pine.

Day 37: PCT miles 693 to 716

Today was a very productive day. The first 11 miles went slower than usual but that seems to be the case whenever getting to a resupply point.

Most people spend the night at Kennedy Meadows but I was in and out in two hours. In that time I took a shower, drank two beers, organized and packed my resupply box, ate and caught up with a few people who I hadn't seen for a while.

Then it was back on the trail and heading into the mountains. I am camped with a few people near the Kern river tonight.

Day 38: PCT miles 716 to 741

The campsite was splendid, tucked in amongst the trees, a little uphill from the river. Sites like this are perfect as the trees keep the condensation off and the colder air sinks down the hill. The morning was misty and beautiful. I hiked the six miles to water and filtered a couple liters. The next mine brought me to the second water, a small creek, where I had lunch and a short nap.

I am sure this person was very wet in the morning from condensation

a new flower I have not seen yet

I walked another 10 miles and the trail brought me up above 10,000 feet. Climbing at this altitude is more challenging but I must have had a lot of endorphins going through me as I felt elated and happy. At one point there was a view down to a valley 5000 feet below me.

Found a nice campsite near water with some other hikers and fell asleep fast, around 8:30.

Day 39: PCT miles 741 to 745

Trying to get to Lone Pine today to meet Lori and resupply. I decided to go down to Horseshoe Meadows campground to hitch a ride. I had heard it might be difficult as it is not a busy road. Been waiting for a while now and I have only seen two cars going the wrong direction. This might be a long day.

... Waited about an hour and a half for a ride. Fortunately, the one car to pass stopped to give me a ride. Got into Lone Pine by 10 am and had all my errands done by 1:00. Ate, washed clothes, showered at the hostel, picked up my new pack at the post office, and called Lori. Since we had a room booked in Bishop and I had time to kill, I decided to hitch the 40 miles so Lori didn't have to drive down to get me. A nice Canadian couple from Ontario picked me up and it was a nice drive. In Bishop, I got a few things at the outfitters, including new shoes. I have been pretty happy with the Brooks Cascadias, 800 miles on them and they still look good. But, I can feel every twig and and stone when I walk and my feet are getting more sore everyday. The new shoes feel very cushy, I sized up a half size so my feet have grown one full size since I started this trip, I wonder if they will shrink back when I am done?

Out with the old and in with the new

Day 40: PCT miles (0)

Had a nice zero day today with Lori, we slept in, went for coffee then hit up Shatz bakery, which is a pretty well known place in Bishop. I stuffed my face with pastries and bought a pound cake for the trail, I'm really excited about that!

We visited the Mountain Light Gallery, I always visit when I am in Bishop. It is the photo gallery started by Galen Rowell and always has amazing and inspiring photography. Good timing to get some inspiration before heading into the Sierras. After that we drove to Lone Pine where we went to a film museum. There have been hundreds of films shot in this area and it was cool to see some of the props and set pieces as well as get a little bit of the history of the place.

I also packed up my new pack, it is much larger than the previous one but more importantly, I think it will be much more comfortable. Hopefully, because I have 20 pounds of food to carry out of here.

Since Lori does not need to be back in Davis until Saturday and because we will not see each other for 3 months, I am taking another zero day tomorrow. Not sure what we will do but we plan on camping at the trailhead, which is at around 10000 feet elevation. Hopefully, Lori will be ok with the altitude.