5/3/17 10 miles PCT Mile 352.0
Not much to report today. It was 90 degrees in the shade, of which there was none, and the next 27 miles was all uphilll. The climb would be 7000 ft. Up to an elevation of 9000 ft. There were no water sources for 22 of those miles. We decided to wait for the heat of the day to pass, then hike in 10 miles or so and camp, then hike the rest the next morning. We bummed around from air conditioner to air conditioner, staying in our room as long as possible, then the lobby, then the gas station, then McDonald’s. The entirety of McDonald’s was filled with hikers coming and going. The ones arriving were easily distinguishable by their red faces and slow tired steps. We saw many hikers here we hadn’t seen in days. Awesome, Toggs, Socks, and many others. We left around 5pm. On our way to the trail we saw the father and son we had seeen on and off since our first day. They were just arriving. I said hello and all the father could say was “it was a hard day” . He didn’t stop to chat. He looked exhausted. I understood.
We did save a lot of water by hiking in the evening, but the terrain was ill suited to the night. The trail was very narrow and eroding in spots. The entirety of the hike that night was also up steep ridges with sheer dropoffs of several hundred feet. There was also thick 3 ft high grass covering both sides of the trail anytime there was a Southern exposure. Once darkness fell, this all made for some rather heartpounding slow miles as we had to be very careful not to step in the wrong spot and tumble off the cliffs. The entire time I had Midnight Rider by the Allman Brothers stuck in my head. I thought it was a perfect song for “Hardcore” the confused southbound then northbound hiker outfitted by hunters on an extreme budget: I don’t own the clothes I’m wearing, and the road goes on forever, and I’ve got one more silver dollar, but I’m not gonna let em catch me no, not gonna let em catch the Midnight Rider. That would be a better name than Hardcore. Actually I would like that name, Midnight Rider is far more badass than No Shit. I guess it’s bad form to nickname yourself though.
We were able to find some flat ground on a ridge after ten miles. We cowboy camped on some freshly burned ground under the stars. I did my best to make a Mattress out of tyvek ground cover, the rolled out tent and all of my clothes. I woke every couple of hours to switch positions and watch the Big Dipper slowly circle the North Star. Tomorrow I would get a new airmat. A good nights sleep was coming. But not tonight.