Saturday, September 15, 2012

Day 147-Weekenders

From mile 2421 to mile 2441

I slept so soundly I don't think I moved at all during the night. Yesterday really had been a hard day. Portrait and I left camp early--I didn't want to be night hiking again.  Almost as soon as we started hiking we had Seminal (who we hadn't seen since Etna, CA) behind us. She was the owner of the little green tent last night. At the bottom of the hill we let her go ahead--I was a little tired of breaking the spiderwebs and I always feel too much pressure to hike faster with other hikers behind me. 

The trail stayed level for a few miles. We crossed a lot of little streams but I wanted to wait until the bottom of the day's main climb to pick up new water.  For awhile we could hear a large creek ahead of us. When we got there we found it buzzing with weekenders still in camp and one thru-hiker, Tortoise, who had camped right in front of the bridge.  He told us it had washed out with a nod towards the path down to the creek. Someone had put parts of the bridge in the water to bridge rock hop gaps. It was an easy river crossing.

Shortly after the river crossing the trail started to climb. I ended up picking up new water and then crossed a dozen more little streams. They petered out around mile two of the climb and I didn't expect to see any more until the bottom of the other side.

The weekenders had told us the top of the pass was really beautiful and it was quiet pretty. There had been a fire a few years ago so no trees blocked the views of the surrounding ridges and the hillside was carpeted in red and orange huckleberry bushes. There were also these tall purple flowers scattered through out and they would dance in the wind.

We had lunch just pass the top-I had accidently gone a half mile past the top of the climb because I thought it was going to be a normal pass but the trail went around the ridge instead of over a low spot. I didn't see anyone around when I sat down in some shade, but I think we crashed a hunter's spot. He came over when we were about to leave and chatted with us about our hike. He told us how he was a member of the volunteer group that clears the trail in early summer. He wished us luck on the rest of our hike. Everybody we've met recently has known about the PCT--it wasn't uncommon further south to meet people who hadn't heard of the trail even though they were standing it. Everybody congratulated us as the past. It's almost kind of weird.

I ran low on water sooner than I expected on the downhill. We were still about six miles from the next listed water when we got to a little stream. Portrait was pretty sure it was a pond outlet. I couldn't see a pond, but it sure tasted like one--very planty.

We took a break overlooking a lake in the valley and the ridges past it. When I sat down there was nothing but a scenic view to look at, but about ten minutes later Portrait pointed out a large column of smoke on the ridge. We could see red at the bottom of the smoke and could only imagine it to be flame. Portrait wondered if somebody had started a signal fire. It seemed to be far away and wouldn't likely interfere with our hike.

A cute sign not at our camp for the night
We continued downhill. About two miles from the bottom my tendons really started to bother me. They seem to have forgotten how good they felt the morning before when we were dropped off at the trail. At the creek we took a snack and water break and I took a couple of Advil to get me the next few miles.

The trail was mostly flat after the river for a few miles. We wanted to do three or four miles, but no night hiking. No campsites were listed but the terrain looked good for finding one. We agreed to not look for one until 7 o'clock. Five minutes of seven at a little stream was a beautiful looking campsite. When we went down to look at it it didn't look so flat any more. We decided to press on and I hoped we wouldn't regret our choice come nine when we were still hiking. Around 7:15 we found a spot down the slope from the trail. We set up camp and had a nice leisurely dinner, unlike last night's, as it slowly got dark.

(A note: This is most likely the last blog post until the end of the hike. Internet will be hard to come by from here on out. I'm leaving Steven's Pass today with 184 miles left to hike. I expect to finish on the 27th. Once I'm off trail I'll catch up the blog.)

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