Day 64: Sounds of Summer

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Mile 1227.1 to 1258.8 (31.7 miles, 51km)

A very warm over night.

I hit the trail to the rising sun peaking over the mountain horizon on the opposite side of the valley. Walking through tall pines decorated in the brightest moss their whole length, sunlight broken by the canopy and casting dappled light on the trail in front. A nice way to start the day.

The sound of summer was in the air most of the day with the high pitch ringing of cicadas or similar bugs out in force. Not sure if they are cicadas or not. Bright displays from richly decorated butterfly’s displaying vibrant oranges and large black and white ones. I should be more up to speed than I am with all the different trees, flowers and wildlife. It’s a work in progress.

The terrain was perfect during the morning, allowing a good speed and lots of ground covered. Early on the trail even followed along several ridge lines offering commanding views.

Towards the afternoon though the trail turned into a green tunnel of sorts. Moving through a mix of oak and pine, always on the contour, tree branches drooped over the trail offering few views other than the narrow three foot wide stretch of dirt that is the PCT.

It looks like we are moving through a previously harvested area. On multiple occasions the trail followed along old, reclaimed forest roads. The untrained eye would just view these sections as really well constructed sections of trail but the forester in me quickly picks up on the wide bench and batter of an old forest road.

In the afternoon it was a hell descent and to be honest was I fairly bored with the what we were walking through. Long, unchanging scenery through a green tunnel, it was a challenge to stay motivated. I knew there was an opportunity for a swim coming up and pushed myself towards the river lying at the bottom of the hill, not before stopping at a creek to pick up some ice cold water.

A large bridge spans the Fowler River, sitting way up high. The river obviously floods to crazy levels as massive dead tree was sitting perched on boulders around 10m above the water line. I picked my way down to the river, finding a nice large eddy to jump in for a swim. There was a lot of current in the main flow of the Fowler so I stuck close by the sides. Still the swimming hole was fairly deep, around 5 metres.

I ‘washed’ some clothes (read rinsed) but it wouldn’t matter. Once crossing the bridge and onto the other side of the river I was faced with a really steep 7 mile climb up to gain 3000ft. All that rinsed out sweat just went right back in.

On the ascent I saw two King Snakes I think they are, banded with red, black and white stripes. I wasn’t sure about the snake situation in NorCal. I thought we had finished with snakes once we hit the Sierra but they are obviously out here. Just not sure about rattlers.

The massive up hill at end of day was a slog and grinding me down. I would have camped much earlier if I had had water. My reserves from the Fowler were dry and the only source was up high from a spring. It was a relief to reach the spring. Draughting deep from the refreshing water, I filled my bottles and climbed the remaining mile to one of the few flat areas where I could pitch my tent.

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