7.8.18. 24 miles.
First full day back on trail after all those zeros! I feel surprisingly well! I guess those days of rest were good. I was scared I’d feel super sluggish like after Mammoth Lakes.
I woke up at the usual time and was hiking with Hot Mess & Butters by 6, like normal. It was nice to go poop in the pit toilet again, and not have to dig a hole. Yay! Today was a rollercoaster. We had 4 consecutive 400-600 foot climbs, generally over 1-2 miles long. They weren’t individually hard at all, it was definitely a nice ease back into the trail. There were really nice views of the mountains for most of the morning, except when we were in trees, and cool ridge walks. It was super windy though, worse than coming into Donner Pass for me, but still not as bad as Tehachapi. The wind actually felt good though because it was pretty hot, and I also have a bad sunburn on my arms from switching to a short sleeve shirt, so the cool air provided relief.
We hiked 16 miles before lunch and did it before noon! I was pretty proud of us, but like I said, the miles weren’t too difficult.
We took a pretty relaxed lunch break, at over 1.5 hours since we only had 8 more miles to hike! It was really hot in the afternoon though when the wind wasn’t blowing. We saw a really large lake in the distance that seemed close to the PCT, and when we went on Guthook’s to inquire, we found out there was a car campsite there with lake access and it was only .25 miles off the PCT. We had to go. We reached the access road at 4 pm and made our way through the campground and to the lake, eventually finding a rocky beach. We all dove in, the water felt so good on the sunburn! After our dip we dried out on the shore and chatted with a family that was camping there. They hadn’t really heard of the PCT, so we told them all about it and answered all of their questions. As we were leaving, one of the ladies brought us all snickers bars! They were so nice!
We only spent about an hour on the detour, and walked back to the trail to hike another mile to our campsite for the night. We still got in super early, like 6 pm, but it is nice to decompress and chill at camp for a little bit. I’m back to cold soaking now, so it was really nice to set up camp and get ready for bed and then join Hot Mess & Butters and just start eating dinner while they’re cooking. It takes me a while to eat dinner sometimes and I love being able to dig right in bc of cold soaking. Waiting for water to boil is the worst.
We’re camped about 11 miles from Sierra City, and I’m really looking forward to getting into town and eating a burger and milkshake. Hot Mess & Butters have a package coming, so we’ll probably be there for a few hours while they organize and we all eat a good meal. Then we’ll head back out onto the trail! I think most towns in Northern California will be quick in-and-outs, mainly bc we are on a time schedule (got to get to Washington before the weather comes in), and bc it will be less expensive, and bc the towns aren’t too far from the trail, unlike in the Sierra.