Mile 1162.4 to mile 1187.0 (24.6 miles, 39.6km)
Wow! Today felt easy. 24 miles in by 4:30pm with an hour long lunch and another hour in the afternoon swimming and lazing by a river. It normally takes me until around 6pm to get 25 miles in but I called it quits early with plenty plenty left in the tank to push further if I wanted.
The trail certainly was kind or maybe it’s all the miles in the legs already. There were most definitely lots of climbs today and the trail was by no means flat. All the ascents were really well graded and switched backed perfectly. It hardly felt like climbing at all and I felt like I could climb like that all day.
I’m loving this section of Northern California. Lots of trail actually follows along the top of ridge lines with some incredible views all round.
Around noonish I was descending to a water source when a group of day hikers picked me as a thru hiker. It must be the grubby, bearded look that gives it away. Anyway they promptly offered another cold beer. This is incredible. Not the best hydration strategy but when it’s on offer how can you refuse. I ended up joining them for lunch in the shade for an hour, the typical scenario – trade beer for trail stories.
I did make it to the water source for a full top up with the best kind of rehydrating liquid – cool mountain water.
Northern California is starting to dry out and the water sources are becoming further apart. More and more water is from Springs, not like the big rivers through the Sierra. It’s time to start paying attention to the PCT Water Report again. I know further along, maybe a week or two, there are some big waterless stretches coming up.
I found some cell service on a hill top and decided to book a place to stay in Sierra City tomorrow. While my legs were up for the whole 32 miles into town today, I held back and made a decision to camp about 8 miles out. Doing the whole distance today would put me in town late in the evening and not really get the best use of a $100 cabin. The General Store along will all other shops and eateries would be closed as well. Walking eight miles in the morning will see me in town before 10am with a chance to get a cooked breakfast and hopefully an early check in. Straight out of Sierra City there is a major climb that I don’t want to do in the hot afternoon. So by staying the night I get a huge of chunk of the day for chores, pick up my food resupply box and can get the climbing out the way in the cool of the morning.
The weather is noticeably hotter at the moment. It’s great when there is a breeze to cool you down. Through the forest though, it can get stifling. By mid afternoon I was hot and sweaty. I knew there was a river coming up, close to a big camping area on a lake side. Not wanting to show up at the camp ground, strip down and jump in the lake, I located the river and walked up stream for a quarter of a mile. Finding a nice big swimming hole I jumped straight in. Perfect temperature for a swim and a scrub down. The next 3/4 of an hour I spent lazing on a flat rock as my clothes dried in the sun.
From here I only had 3 miles left for the day and took it pretty casual. At a trail junction I caught up with a few hikers and shared some muffins that were gifted to one of them.
Tonight I’m on a ridge top only 8 miles from town, camped with Scuzie from South Africa and Dragon from Canada.
Thought I’d add a new flavour to the blog as well. You are probably reading all these trail names but have no idea what they mean or how hikers got them. So, where I can I’ll explain how hikers acquired their trail names. I’m sure they won’t mind me sharing.
Scuzie – because she apologises too much but hikers didn’t want to call her Sorry.
Dragon – because she is always dragging at the back of the pack.