Day 8: Cutting the Cord 

4/18/17 22 miles PCT mile 131.5

We’ve been pushed from the birds nest, the cord has been cut, weened from flipper and sent on our way. We are no longer being baby bird fed hamburgers, chicken, or eggs. It’s time for us to prepare our own cold soaked meals in our stove less world. In other words we said goodbye to my dad this morning and the joys of RV camping. 

I was up at 6am as I’m on a schedule now and can’t seem to sleep in. Matt on the other hand can sleep through anything even vacuuming. There are no vacuums out here to worry about, but as my mom would say, “I run a tight ship”. In my world this means keeping the bugs and dirt out of the tent. After several gentle nudges Matt was ready to go and we were on the trail, this was of course after several cups of coffee for Matt that my dad kept refilling.

We walked through the field where the other PCT hikers were camping said our goodbyes and then immediately went the wrong way. After figuring out our mistake we turned around did a walk of shame back past the other hikers and found our way to the trail. We began our day walking through a valley lined with bluegrass and wild wheat for the first few miles. 

Picking sage to make the tent smell nice

The trail then began to meander through an oak grove while intersecting the agua caliente creek. 
We found “High Noon” here, he is a another start date sibling. He is a 65 year old retired pilot that we would leap frog with all day and then eventually camp with. 

Agua Caliente Creek

Upon leaving the creek we began to climb up into a different world of vegetation and sights. There was succulents, juniper bushes, wildflowers, pine trees, bushes that look like madrona trees, yucca trees, and lots of boulders. 

The best part is that it was warm but not hot. Some wonderful clouds even showed up to block the sun rays and cool us. Then a wonderful breeze flew in to further cool our body temps. We had a nice picnic under a big oak tree, complete with a tyvek picnic blanket and a summer sausage. Matt would loss his first item here, his buff aka sweat band is now a resident of the Cleveland National Forest. 

A man and his never ending meat log

Pondering why he agreed to this
After lunch we continued the great climb to Mike’s place to fill up our empty water jugs. Mike is a trail angel who pumps up water from his well to holding tanks. You can also camp at his place which is in the middle of nowhere, but it was clear not many hikers were taking him up on his offer. While we were filling up our bottles Mike strolled up with a PBR in hand to drum on his tanks and exclaim that, “I knew it the tanks are empty.” I’m not sure if this was a ploy to get more donations, but he soon strode off back to his house. There are rumors out on the trail that Mike’s place might be a front for something. Maybe drugs, his place really is in the middle of nowhere, we were greatful for the water so I don’t care what he is up too. 

Water at shady Mike’s Place
From here we learned that most people were camping 4 miles down the trail. This was intriguing to me as the closest campsite was on a 5500 foot ridge. So we decided to push on despite the fact that our dogs were barking, the sun was setting fast, and we had already walked 18 miles. The first 3 miles were a steady climb up, but we trudged on determined to not sleep on a windy ridge. 

Toggs camping on the windy ridge
Setting sun

When we got to the campsite we found the herd and little space to set up our tent. There were 6 tents already set up with most people already asleep before 8pm. We found a patch of uneven ground and set up our tent. At the same time I hear a loud clearing of someone’s throat “ahem” as if to say keep it down it’s 8:00pm and I’m trying to sleep. Shortly after this High Noon shows up talking loudly about where he can camp. Matt yells, “over here by us.” He trudged through the brush and starts to set up his camp, which includes an air pump for his mattress. Now that’s luxury camping! We ate our cold soaked meals and fell fast asleep around 9pm. 

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