Date: Monday, 10 July 2017
Start: Camped by the trail near Alex Hole Spring at Mile 1680.7, 6588 ft
Finish: Camped by the trail at Mile 1704.8, 6959 ft
Daily Miles: 24.1 PCT
Total PCT Miles: 1164.5
Weather: Warm and sunny
Dinner: Teriyaki rice with salmon
Aches: Right shoulder troublesome
Highlight: It was otherworldly in the first half hour, in the dawn light before the sun had risen, hiking through a dark forest along a pine-needle covered trail and climbing over the occasional snowbank.
Lowlight: I could have done without the huge snowbanks covering a large portion of the trail on a mountainside around noon. To get around them involved arduous cross-country hiking on steep and slippery terrain and was both time- and energy-consuming.
Pictures: Click here
I had a short and disturbed night’s sleep. A small herd of cattle, with bells tinkling, was always moving in the vicinity, and twice came very close to my tent, which was a little unnerving in case they accidentally trod on me. On both of those occasions, I flashed my headlamp at them and created a minor stampede away.
I still managed to get on the trail by 6:20am, hoping for a good mileage day, but realising that I was going to be tired. The terrain was much the same as the previous afternoon, with the trail keeping near the top of a long broad ridge and alternately passing through dark forest or across open stony meadows with great views in all directions. A milestone was reached at 10:00am when I crossed into Oregon from California. Of course the trail still had plenty of ups and downs, oscillating between 5000 ft and 7000 ft, but on the whole it was good and the hiking enjoyable.
An exception was some unexpected snow on the north-facing slope of one of the mountains. It was impossible to follow the trail, and I ended up labouring cross-country and around the snow until I could pick up the trail again. It was only a mile or so, but cost me a good hour and lots of energy.
Following that section, I decided that I would load up with water at a spring I passed at 4:30pm, and then stop at the first place I found to camp after 6:00pm, which was how it worked out. I’m camped in a little forest thicket on the side of a rather bare Mt Ashland at 7000 ft. Tomorrow, I have just over 10 miles to Interstate Highway 5, from where I will hitchhike into Ashland for a two-night stay.