21.8 miles PCT mile 59.5
This morning we were greated to frost on the inside of our tent. It was hard to put my cold hiking clothes on and leave the comforts of my sleeping bag. My socks that were slightly damp from the day before were now frozen solid. Right as we left camp a young guy named Oliver from the U.K. was filling up his water bottles at the stream nearby. He would soon catch us and we would suffer our first hit. He is a spry 22 year with legs to the moon. So we didn’t feel that bad, we caught up to him 2 miles down the trail. So it’s really not a hit. The trail soon began to enter a forest, a real forest with pine tress and Douglas firs. We were at an elevation of 6,000 so I guess we shouldn’t have been so surpirsed. Matt kept remarking that it looked very similar to Montana.
Several people said we were hiking fast as most of the people we are seeing now started 2-4 days before us. These comments made my head swell, which is good because I have a small head and normal sized hats appear clownish on my kid sized head.
We wandered into Burnt Rancheria Campground at mile 41.5 to find a flushing toilet and running water! Wahoo. Matt was directed towards a hiker box next to the bathroom and scored an inflatable pillow just like mine. He was gonna buy one at the outfitter in Mount Laguna, but now he can have 6 lattes with the money he saved.
As we made our way up to the ridges outside of Mount Laguna holy moly the wind started gusting like no other. The PCT does not follow a straight path to Canada either it turns north and then south. The winds were blowing out of the southwest so whenever the trail turned south we were blasted with 50mph wind gusts. It was brutal. We had to be very strategic with the placement of our poles and feet so we didn’t end up like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. It was a little scary as I was imagining one of the gusts picking me up and flinging me right off the ridge.
I followed Matt for most of the afternoon which has its drawbacks. For one I have not gone noseblind to his smells yet, maybe in 2 weeks. Also the pizza and jimmy dean breakfast sandwich that Matt ate earlier were now making their presence known.
We took a brief break at Pioneer picnic park at mile 52.5 in which Matt proclaimed this is a summer sausage kinda break. He happily got out his knife and began hacking away at that big log. Our break was brief as there was no reprieve from the wind and it was starting to get cold with the temperature dropping to the 40’s.
Back on the trail we were gunning for mile 59 as my dad was hopefully going to be there. If not we would camp there despite the warnings that it would be windy. We caught up to a guy we started with on day 1 and Matt gave him the trail name of Hamlet. He seemed to like it. We got to sunrise trailhead at 6:20pm and waited next to the outhouse to try and shield ourselves from the wind. Dad showed up soon after and we were whisked off to be reunited with Flipper after her bladder transplant. We enjoyed some delicious yap yap and listened to the wind howl as we drifted off to sleep.