170626 – Southbounders

Day:  064
Date:  Monday, 26 June 2017
Start:  Camped by the trail at Mile 1448.8, 6122 ft
Finish:  Camped by the trail in Fitzhugh Gulch at Mile 1470.6, 2286 ft
Daily Miles:  21.8 PCT
Total PCT Miles:  930.3
Weather:  Warm and sunny
Accommodation:  Tent
Nutrition:
     Breakfast:  Muesli
     Lunch:  Gorp
     Dinner:  Rehydrated Kung Pao (sp?) chicken with rice and vegetables
Aches:  None in particular
Highlight:  My mid-afternoon break sitting on a mossy rock beside an unnamed crystal clear babbling stream in the shade of giant conifers, and no bugs, was idyllic.
Lowlight:  A multitude of biting insects both when breaking camp in the morning and setting up camp in the evening made life very miserable.
Pictures:  Click here

Position:  Click here.
Map:  Click here for Google Map
Journal:

I was underway soon after 6:30am with the goal of covering 22 miles and leaving myself one long day, and one very short day, to reach Interstate Hwy 5 and my hitch to Dunsmuir.

Initially, the trail followed a ridge with great views to the south and west.  It wasn’t as hot or humid as yesterday, and it also looked like the trail had been maintained recently, because the going was relatively easy.  Of course there were still lots of ups and downs, but it wasn’t as much hard work as in previous days.

In mid-morning, coming the other way, I met a female couple, both professional basketball coaches, that I had met several times south of Kennedy Meadows.  They had skipped the High Sierras and gone to Ashland (about 130 miles ahead) and were now hiking south back to the Sierras with the intention of returning to Ashland and heading north later.  I asked them about snow conditions between here and Ashland and they said they had bailed out of one section because of some scary traverses and skipped some miles.  Not good news.  I suspect they will encounter worse snow as they head south.  It’s not melting that fast.  I think that when I get to Dunsmuir, I will do some map explorations to see if I can avoid the worst of the snow by using lower elevation forestry roads.  This may also be necessary at Crater Lake, which is still buried in a lot of snow, and comes after Ashland.

During the day I met about 10 southbound PCT hikers, all returning to the Sierras, and also heard a news item on National Public Radio talking about the number of PCT hikers forced to skip the High Sierras, and describing some of the close calls some had had at river crossings.

For most of the afternoon, the trail gradually descended through lovely mossy forest, and despite the rising temperature, it was very pleasant, if a little hard on the feet.  I reached my goal soon after 5:00pm and found a campsite a little away from a fairly boisterous group of hikers with a large fire going, presumably to ward off mosquitoes, of which there are plenty.

It’s now 28 miles to the Highway, and having eaten my last main meal (I still have plenty of muesli and gorp), I may make an attempt to cover the whole distance tomorrow and stay in Dunsmuir for two days and three nights.  It depends on how the day goes, and if I don’t make it, then it will be gorp for dinner.

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