6/18/17 15.8 miles PCT Mile 1184.3
I laid awake last night wondering if we had made the right move by skipping the Sierra. I felt conflicted as I knew people were successfully going through the Sierra Mts right now. Matt tried to reassure me as I complained but this did no good. He would groan and say, “really this again.”
To go on, yesterday we tromped through the snow the entire day only seeing the trail for one small glimpse. Snow travel is exhausting and it seemed we traded one evil for another, although less risky. Finally I fell asleep and woke up to a warm morning and we got ourselves ready.
Just as we were packed up this French/Swiss couple we met the prior day and had also skipped showed up. We talked and walked with them for a bit as we immediately descended down a snowy hill. It was nice to see other people as we appear to be in the middle of a bubble. Most people skipped even further north than us or were going southbound from Ashland, or are south in the Sierra. Since our time is limited we chose Truckee as hopefully we can still make it to the Canadian border before we have to go on our Grand Canyon rafting trip in September.
We spent the morning traveling through snow, getting off trail, and then backtracking to the trail. Snow travel is complicated by the fact that you have to constantly check your GPS to make sure you are in the vicinity of the trail. One minute you are on the trail the next you are 200ft off the trail. Eventually we could see to the north and it looked much greener with far less snow caps than the south. Dry ground started to appear with less snow patches. It felt weird to try and stride out as we had become accustomed to taking short steps. It felt so magical to be on solid ground that Matt began to blather on and on how we could once again get 20+ mile days again. I wasn’t feeling so optimistic sad I knew we still had more snow outside of Sierra City. I hoped it was only patchy snow as I desperately wanted to shed some weight from my pack. I knew I would have to get rid of my ice ax and crampons before I could start to High miles as the weight was digging into my shoulders. As we traveled further away from the snow we dropped in elevation and he temperature began to rise. I felt hot for the first time in awhile, but it was a welcome change.
A lake appeared in the distance and we could hear the hum of a boat. In my head I wanted to run down to the lake and ask for a ride. We followed the lake for a bit and then emerged to cross a few paved roads. We saw some day hikers as we were getting water and talked to them for a bit. It was close to 5:00 and I was getting tired so we camped soon after. Being at camp early was nice as my shoes and socks were wet so they had time to dry. It was a really warm evening and we would have cowboy camped hadnit not been for the bugs that were swarming us. We crawled in our hot tent around 7:00 and played two games. One “bug wars” in which you count the number of bugs on your side of the tent that are trapped between the mesh and he rain fly. Whoever has the most wins. Despite Matt’s smell I always had more bugs than Matt. We also played trivia where one person picks a random category and the other makes up a question. My favorite was when Matt picked the category space. My question was, what is the final frontier? Usually the questions are more thought provoking but I was growing tired. I soon could stay awake no longer and drifted off to sleep around 7:30.