Date: Saturday, 15 July 2017
Start: Camped by the trail at Mile 1758.8, 5341 ft
Finish: Camped by the trail near Christi’s Spring at Mile 1782.4, 6293 ft
Daily Miles: 23.6 PCT
Total PCT Miles: 1242.1
Weather: Very warm and sunny
Lunch: Pulled pork roll & potato salad, trifle
Dinner: Rehydrated Kung Pao chicken with noodles
Aches: Nothing new
Highlight: There was only one place on the trail, until I reached my target campsite in 23 miles, where water could be obtained today. That was when the trail met a creek soon after crossing a fairly major road at about the 12 mile mark for the day. As I approached the road, I came across two coolers labelled Trail Magic, and eagerly opened both to see what goodies they contained – nothing in one, and trash in the other. Oh well! I crossed the road into a clearing where about eight PCT hikers were taking a break by the stream, and I did the same. About 15 minutes later, a car turned up to collect four of the hikers (presumably to have a day off somewhere), but it also dropped off beer and soft drink, plus some chips, for us all. Fantastic! Soon after they left, I began packing up to return to the trail when another car arrived and a woman and her niece began unloading heaps of goodies, along with a table and chairs, and was keen to have us partake. I helped myself to a pulled pork roll and delicious potato salad and followed that with two servings of a scrumptious fruit trifle, along with some more Cola. She also brought along other things a hiker might need and I took some insect repellent. My 30 minute break had become a 90 minute break and I waddled back to the trail with a very full stomach. Such a generous and much appreciated act by the woman (whose name I didn’t get) and her niece.
Lowlight: The last two hours hiking, which had the potential to be very pleasant – woodland trail, setting sun, and easy grades – was made miserable by voracious mosquitoes and a huge number of trees down across the trail, which had to be got around, under, or over. Some were quite challenging.
Pictures: Click here
I hit the trail at about 6:15am, after oversleeping a little, and continued through the forest on a buggy morning. I have taken to smearing my exposed parts with insect repellent these mornings before I get out of the tent so that I can pack up and hike the first couple of hours without being eaten alive.
Before long the trail began crossing old lava flows of increasing size. The flows were now just large jagged boulders which would have been difficult to negotiate had it not been for excellent trails constructed using smaller rocks and scoria(?). In between the old flows were sections of cool forest, where the trail was also good, and I made better time than usual.
I stopped for my second break at a stream where I replenished my water, and experienced 90 minutes of very enjoyable trail magic (see above). By the time I left, there were quite a few northbound PCT hikers there, and it was safe to assume all would be heading for Christi’s Spring, 11 miles away, to camp for the night. There was no other places to get water. There were supposed to be only a few places to camp near the spring, and I began to doubt I would find a place to set up my tent as more than a dozen PCT hikers passed me during the afternoon on the slow ascent through the Sky Lakes Wilderness. As it turned out, though the last to arrive, I was able to squeeze my tent into a very small space a little away from the others, completing an enjoyable day.