Date: Wednesday, 04 October 2017
Start: Camped by the trail at Mile 1243.1, 4970 ft
Finish: Where the PCT crosses Bucks Lake Road at Mile 1265.4, 5518 ft
Daily Miles: 22.3 PCT
Total PCT Miles: 2586.0
Weather: Cool to mild and sunny
Accommodation: Room at Gold Pan Lodge, Quincy
Breakfast: Pop tarts
Dinner: Nachos, ice-cream
Aches: Nothing new
Highlight: None really
Lowlight: None really
Pictures: Click here
I was hiking by 6:00am, using my headlamp for the first 45 minutes, on a cool clear morning. I had just over 22 miles to cover to reach Bucks Lake Road from where I was planning to hitchhike to the small town of Quincy for resupply and a day off. It was important to get there with plenty of daylight remaining or I might have trouble getting a lift, but I figured this would be no problem with an early start and reasonable trail, and that’s how it turned out.
It wasn’t all beer and skittles, though. The morning started with a 2000 ft descent to the Middle Fork Feather River, a nationally classified wild river, followed by a 3000 ft ascent up the mountain on the other side, but the trail surface was good and the grades reasonable and I made good time, reaching the top around noon. To the east and south were pine-covered mountains disappearing into the distance on a very clear day.
For the afternoon, the trail stayed around the 5000 ft level, and the hiking was enjoyable, mostly through old growth forest. I reached Bucks Lake Road at 4:00pm, not having seen another person on the trail all day, and for the first 15 minutes of hitchhiking, it seemed I might not see anybody on the road either, as no cars came past. But then a car came from the opposite direction at a slow speed, made a U-turn, and the driver asked me whether I wanted a lift to town. It turned out they, Steve and Dana, were scoping out where the PCT trailhead was because Dana was going to begin hiking tomorrow for a week or so northbound. She is completing the PCT by sections and has already covered 1400 miles. By extraordinary coincidence, it turned out that they were the same Steve and Dana who helped out Stef, another Australian hiker, who broke her ankle near Ashland last year and had returned this year to complete the PCT, reaching Canada about two weeks before me. Small world!
I checked into my motel around 4:45pm, and hand-washed the dirtiest of my gear (no laundy available in town), showered, and had dinner in town. I’m really looking forward to a good long night’s sleep and a day off tomorrow.