A Travellerspoint blog

506 miles in 16 days

My challenge to myself

So after leaving Sierra City and having to say goodbye to Corley, it was very tough for the first while. I was very sad to be leaving her, but hiked on non-the-less. Up until this point, with the low snow year, no HUGE challenges had befallen me along the trail. Everything that had happened was expected, and some things expected, weren't there. My original thought was to make Ashland on Friday the 20th of July and hopefully have some time over the weekend with Corley, but that day is her fathers birthday and the party was that weekend. I wanted to make it work to see her very badly, so I found that I could push myself and make it there earlier to give it a chance. So to make a challenge for myself, I have pushed for the last 506 miles, completing them in 16 days. That is averaging 31.6 miles each day.

I left Sierra City at 11:15 and was off to get back to hiking. I hiked a good long day through some beautiful country. Seeing the view from the Sierra Butte and seeing some beautiful lakes, it was a wonderful hike. I was able to call home and mention my new thoughts of making Ashland earlier to my mom, then was off to keep pushing. At the end of this first day I had made 25 miles to a beautiful saddle where I surprisingly found service and met a new hiker, Buster, who was pushing to make 300 miles in 10 days.

The next day, after a quick call to Corley in the morning after she made it home, I was off and caught Buster. We hiked together for a while and eventually came into view of Mt. Lassen. It was far off and had some beautiful snow caps on it's peak. My feet were killing me with the new shoes, most likely because I had left in the original inserts instead of just putting in my super feet. I wanted to get some miles out of them! So I switched those out and kept hiking. No pain no gain! I had planned on 33 miles that day, but made those miles by 1745! I couldn't stop that early so I decided to hike on and that I did. I had no luck finding a spot to set up camp, so made camp square on the trail and slept in fear of rolling off down a cliff. I had hiked 37 miles! My longest day yet!!

In the morning I felt all right. I wake up and my feet and body feel fine for the first hour or two until the sweat softens the skin and the deep bruises have less protection, but still, I hike on. The small town of Belden was a mere 30 miles from where I had made camp, so I shot to make it there. I caught Buster in the mid afternoon, and we hiked the last 8 miles together, which included a 4000 foot drop over the last 5 miles. We decided to count the switch backs down and counted 42! My feet especially hurt with the pressure of going downhill! We made it into Belden at 1715 and a crazy party was going on, which I hear is how it is every weekend. A hippie parade and travelling carnival was in town. It was fun to get to people watch, and even though it really wasn't stuff I am in to, I enjoyed seeing such crazy people acting weird. I made camp way out at the edge and was in my tent by 2030 to go over maps and relax. It was great.

The next day, my friend Jackie Daum, whom I had worked with on the National Geographic Sea Bird for nearl 5 months with, came to visit me and get lunch. It was great to relax all morning. She brought me my resupply of food and dropped me at the trailhead at 1330. Out of Belden was a 14 mile climb up. It wasn't too bad, just 14 miles of uphill at any grade gets tough eventually. But I made it up by 1930 and caught my buddy Bo! I was very happy to run into him. We hiked on another three miles and made camp, as well as chatted until nearly 2330. He is a great guy and I was happy to chat with him that day!

I left in the morning just a little before Bo, but after myself going off trail 1/3 of a mile to get water, he had passed me. We hiked together a while and it was a great day. I split off on an uphill, my specialty! I saw him again when I took my break at a wonderful sign post readind MEXICO 1325 CANADA 1325 PCT MIDPOINT. The mileage was off by a little, but I had hit to midpoint! What a great feeling that was! I was very happy to make it there! I was off to get another 9 miles in for a 31 mile day. I wanted to hit highway 89, so I hiked until I hit the road. As I came up to the road there was a sign reading, Cold Soda and Fresh fruit across the road! NO WAY! Trail magic in Cali! I was happy to hike across the road and make camp over there! It was a wonderful treat. And I had cell service to call home and talk to Corley as well! It was a great night!

Next day just kept getting better! I was hiking Lassen Volcanic National Park and thought it reminded me of Yellowstone with the boiling springs and gysers! I made a short side hike over to see the Terminal geyser that was going off. Half way through the day I came across Drakesbad Guest Ranch and hiked a half mile in just in time for lunch! An all you can eat sandwich buffet for $6.50! What a treat! I ate so much and was leaving at 1600 after meeting Zeek and Raisins. I wanted to make my 30 miles that day! It was a nice little climb out then just a great level hike for a few more miles! I had to make my water source and hit that, but had lots of mosquitoes around. I hiked on just a little further and found a spot with a beautiful view of the sunset against the west face of Mt. Lassen. It was a beautiful spot to camp! Happy 4th of July! The only sound similar to that of fireworks exploding were my hands clapping to get rid of those few annoying mosquitoes that still came around. Not much special that day! Haha

I was off a little early the next day, just a few miles to make it into Old Station. It was a very nice hike heading down into the small stop along the highway 89. I made it to get a little ice cream and had found out that I caught some of the people I had hiked with earlier along the trail. So we hiked down the highway a couple miles to the small grocery, then to a cafe! It was a delicious afternoon! I was back on trail about 1400 and hiked out into the flat and hot hike along Hat Creek Rim. It was a 30 mile dry stretch with no water, but I had heard of some thru hikers from previous years making a cache along the way! So I hiked to there, just before mile 1400 and made camp. It was great and was right at my 30 miles for the day!

I heard Zeek heading out in the early morning and he was trying to make Burney Falls park in time to meet up with his mom at 1500 or so. He was out and I packed up quick to try to make about the same time! It was a good downhill followed by very flat hiking. And by the mid morning it was beginning to get very hot out! But I eventually passed Zeek, unaware of doing so until he caught me again during a break where I had met Sampson. I headed off and hiked with Zeek into Burney Falls State Park. The falls were beautiful and there was a little store to get some soft serve ice cream and food!! I also ran into other thru hikers I hadn't seen in a long while! Caveman, Focus, and the Cousins, who put some great food in the hiker box and I had enough for the next couple days! I left at 1900 after eating a bunch and hiked about 5.5 miles to get my 30 miles in and camped with Wrong Way, Joker, Hawkeye and Kambucha for the night!

I was off in the morning and out hiking before the rest of the group that was there. We were back into forrests and some actually hiking with good ups and downs! We would run into each other through the day and I met a couple new hikes, Nick from Australia, and Mousetrap. It is nice to be seeing people along the trail. I made it to the last water source of the day, Alder Creek which was .5 miles off trail and got lost trying to get back to the trail. Just bushwhacked right up the hill side until I hit it and found my way again. There were terrible amounts of mosquitoes around, so I headed out to hike a few more miles. I also saw a black bear running off back in the forrest before heading further. To my luck, past this spot was all side hilling in thick shrubs on both sides of the trail, which meant no places to sleep!! I had to hike on nearl 3.5 miles to a road to make camp, and about 1/10 of a mile before making camp I saw another bear! It just ran far off though. I had hoped to maybe find service, but no luck. That's all okay though! It had been a great few days with lots of cell and lots of good breaks during the day. Even though my feet ache so much, after a long break they start to feel a little better for a while.

I was out the next morning and went nearly the entire day before I saw any other people. It was quite a nice hike with lots of ups and downs! My body is completely adjusted to everything by now, well besides my foot issues, but all the ups and downs of hiking are becoming much easier for me! So I made great time and on the last climb of the day, I ran into three south bound hikers. The first people I'd seen all day! I was a little bummed, hoping for my first day not talking to another person at all, which has not happened yet. Not going to happen yet! I made camp after a 32 mile day and leaving 10 miles to get down to Castella in the morning. And as I was on the phone, Sampson made the road and made camp near me.

I was off in the morning for the 10 miles down to castella and made it there by about 1030. My mother had mailed a package with a few dinners to the PO there. I had heard that there wasn't much in terms of things to buy in Castella, which is simpy a gas station, PO, and campground which is closed. So I was happy to find that some rumors I had heard of the PO being closed too were false. I got my package, relaxed, ate a bunch of ice cream, and was off for the big climb out of castella! I hiked out with Sampson and made the climb plus some to make camp for 30 miles that day. Met other hikers, Panther and his Baby Sister. And caught a hiker I had not seen since The Andersons, Al H. It was a great day and had some beautiful views of Mt. Shasta! I love being in the Cascade Mountains!

I was off earlier the next morning and have not seen Sampson again as I am doing my big mile days. As I was hiking, a crazy haze had been covering all the skies. Come to find out, near Redding, a forrest fire was ensuing and that was the cause, with enough smoke in the air that I could not see the peak of Shasta. I am glad it was not affecting the PCT! It was a mellow hike all day! I was very pleased because my feet were still aching a lot. I wanted to make Seiad Velley a day earlier, on Friday rather than saturday so I could keep moving and make Ashland a bit earlier for a longer break. So I pushed myself to make a 37 mile day this day! I was there by about 1945, so it was a great day!! And Al and I camped together.

I was out a little before Al in the morning, but he caught me easily enough at water sources. It wasn't quite as mellow a day in the Trinity Alps. Much more climbing. And by the end of the day, we were in the Russian Wilderness! It was beautiful rocky mountains where the trail was cut right out of the granite cliffs! So wonderful! I was hiking more miles than Al and we split off around 1500 or so. I hiked a big climb out and kept on pushing for the big miles! I made it to my goal of a 38 mile day, close to a lake. This was a bad idea because as I was setting up my camp, I look up and see a black cloud of mosquitoes flying above my head. I packed up and was out quick! I went about 1 more mile to another spot and made camp, right next to another hiker who was camped there! I eventually realized my solar panel was missing though!!! I freaked out and ran back to the lake to see if I had left it there with no luck. I figured that some alder trees I had hiked through pulled it off my pack. I hoped this was the case and that possibly Al had picked it up and that I may run into him tomorrow.

Chris and I hiked out of our nice little camp in the morning and hiked to the little highway where some people hitch down to Etna to resupply. We split ways as I waited for Al. I waited from 0750 until 1130 with no luck, left a note, and headed off. I got about 1/10 of a mile and felt like Al had to be getting back just then, so I dropped my pack and ran back. And just to my luck, he was there!! And he had my solar panel! I was so happy as I literally skipped down the road to get it from him! What a relief! But I had wasted 4 hours of the day and had a lot of miles to try and get! I was super motivated and flew along the trail though! I had hoped for 32 more miles out of that road. I made great time through the mountains and by the end of the day, which was 2230, I had made 30 of those miles, enough for me for the day. It was really quite an amazing hike at points. One in particular was a section where literally every 50-100 feet for at least half a mile was covered in springs and waterfalls going over the trail. It was overwhelming and beautiful after such dry stretches I had had before. It was a great day and left 26.4 miles for tomorrow to get into Seiad Valley before the post office closes at 1600!

In order to make those miles, I gave myself plenty of time and woke up at 0430 to get hiking a little before 0500! There were 24 miles of downhill to get me to Seiad Valley, which wasn't as easy as I would have hoped. It was a lot for my feet which still ached and my knees as well. But I made that marathon by 1400! Plenty of time for the PO! I got my maps and mail from my mom! She sent me so much food that I had to hardly buy a thing for the next couple days!! At this point I was not far out of Oregon and Ashland! Each day though, I was telling myself only a couple more days to a break, just keep pushing! I took a good break to avoid the amazing heat that was there in Seiad. There is a wonderful RV park that welcomes hikers with coin showers and a place to hang out. So I chilled there with On Time whom I had not seen since hiking with my brother Joe! I left Seiad at 1815 for the 6 mile climb out. I was super motivated with plenty of energy though and made those 6 miles and 3000 feet in 2 hours! The only spot to sleep was right on the rocky trail along a ridge line between lower and middle Devils Peaks. It was honestly, one of the best spots I had slept though! Sun to see for miles and miles on both sides of me. I loved it!!

I was off in the morning and had the goal in mind to make the Oregon/California border! It was full of more ups and downs and heading EAST!!! I could look left and see Oregon there the entire day, just a few miles north of me. It was quite a tease, but I kept on going and felt pretty good. My feet are definitely getting used to everything. And Dad sent me some new super feet to use and they are helping even more! I feel pretty darn good! I made it to my last water source before the boreder and got water to have dinner there. I hiked on and finally came around a bend to see the sign marking the two states! It felt so good!! 1699 miles! What an accomplishment! California is a huge state and I was happy to make it to Oregon! Just keep moving forward! I ate dinner and was off to hike a little further to give a shorter day tomorrow in to Ashland. I camped at a water source and made a few calls. But mice kept running towards me and jumping to bump their heads into my sides! I knew it wasn't a good spot to sleep so picked up all my stuff and moved on a little under the shelter of trees. It was a much better spot and I slept great! Today marked 506 miles in 16 days!! Pretty unbelievable I think!

My last 24 miles into Ashland! I was off and moving quick in the morning, just wanting to make it in! A race had gone on the day before though, and I was rather dissapointed. There was plenty of trash left around from it along the trail and that made me pretty sad. GU gel wrappers were the biggest find. I eventually caught two hikers I had not met before! Snake Charmer and Back Out. We ran into each other just before Mt. Ashland at another source of great trail magic with some coolers of soda. :) We chatted for a while and I was back out. I kept moving quick and had 11 miles downhill to go! I made it to the Old Highway 99 and the 4th car to pass me picked me up on his way into Ashland. I was so happy to not need to wait long! We also picked up Wolfey, who I had not seen since Idylwild, just before getting on Interstate 5 at exit 6! How awesome! I made Ashland by 1530 and had plenty of time to relax! Renee set up my motel to stay at and I will be here until Wednesday! Corley is coming down and will get in Tuesday morning! I cannot wait to see her again! Now it is just a couple days to relax and let my body heal up before heading out to hike the state of Oregon!!

Posted by walkinman 16:31 Comments (0)


Hiking with and seeing family

View Thru Hike PCT on walkinman's travel map.

On Thursday night, about 2200 or so, Joe pulled up to the Black Jack Inn in South Lake Tahoe and I was there waiting him. It was amazing to see family come up and such a treat to see him! We stayed the night there and after a quick walk over to Nevada to check out the casinos, slept soundly for the night. The next morning we were off to Echo Lake for him to join me hiking for a couple days. This was such a wonderful treat! Until this point I had been hiking with new friends I made on the trail and had not seen family in such a long time. I was so happy to have my brother with me!!

Since I have been out so long and was looking forward to this time to hike with my brother, I let him lead the entire time. He set the pace and chose breaks and when we would stop for the day. This first morning out was just amazing. Echo Lake, Lake Aloha, and the Desolation wilderness were just great areas to share this trail with my brother. He hiked a good clip to start the day! It was very windy, but this kept the bugs away. It helped, however, when we would pass behind a bush a black cloud of mosquitos were fluttering around and it was disgusting. The wind may not have been too fun, but it was a blessing in disguise. Joe made about 10 miles by 1100. Then was the climb up Dicks Pass. Joe kept moving and we took a good break to call Mom. It was a lot of fun. We eventually made it over the pass and made our way back down, this being my last time above 9000 feet elevation. Later in the day, Joe had the choice opportunity to meet a PCT hiker great, Billy Goat. It was awesome to see him on trail! At the end of the day we had 18.5 miles under our belts. Joe did great. We made camp and it was so windy and cold. He made us a salmon and risotto dinner, then we made up a fire afterward to get a little warmth. It was a great night and we got to enjoy some Hot Cocoa. I loved it!!

The next day we woke up to cloud cover and more wind. It was a slow moving morning, but we got out on trail just after 0715. Joe had a sore ankle and sore hamstring, but pushed on. The wind made for not such a fun day, but we kept on moving. After lunch time and a quick slip into the stream by me, we stopped for lunch. Then by 1400 we had made it to Barker Pass, 14 miles for the day. The wind and cold made for not a very fun day, but Joe did a great job. We set up my tent and just napped until 1730. At one point prior to setting up camp, Joe said he was miserable. It was a tough day and the weather made no help to anything. I wish it could have been better weather, but we made 32 miles in two days. Joe did great! After our nap, we walked around just a little to find his way out for the morning. Then made dinner, and after dinner and a quick call from Dad, the wind had died down and we made another great fire. The end of this day was amazing and we both felt much better!!

In the morning, we split ways. Joe headed down the road back to the 89 to get back to his car. He ended up catching two buses for $1.75 to get the South Lake Tahoe. Then made a sign and got a hitch all the way back up to Echo Lake and his car! He made his car around 1115 in the morning. This was great! And by this point in the day, I had hiked 17 miles and found a great spot to take a break with cell service and a bit of sun light. It was the family party today, so I called home! Everyone was there, including Corley! My parents had invited her over for the party. I love that and love that she is becoming part of my family!! She will be one of us one day! I got a chance to talk with everyone there, except for Jacob and Alex, but was on the phone an hour and really enjoyed getting to hear from all my family! After this I was back out and moving quick again! I wanted to make Donner Pass, where I had heard there was a restaurant not far off trail. But I never found it. I still made the miles and stopped to make camp about 1/4 mile before Interstate 80 and the Donner Summit. I had hiked a 32 mile day to get there before 1900. It felt amazing!

The next day, Monday and having only 39 miles to make Sierra City by Wednesday morning, I took my time hiking and didn't push myself to make a quick pace. It finally was clearing up and I had a great day. I stopped to use the bathroom at the interstate rest area and hoped for a vending machine, but no luck. What rest stop these days doesn't have a vending machine???? I just wanted a candy bar so bad! I was bummed, but headed on. I made it to the Peter Grubb hut and rested there an hour with a couple guys from Tahoe. They gave me some coffee and cheesey bread. I grabbed some hot cocoa from the emergency supplies, and was off. It was still a very windy day, but I kept moving and made a great day. I hiked to a beautiful little gap at the end of the last climb before Sierra City, leaving 10.5 miles for the morning. I had hiked a 28.5 mile day, going at an easy pace. I feel like I am in such amazing shape! It is great.

In the morning I was out, and with about 90% of my hike downhill, I made great time to get to Highway 49 and hit the road at 0945. Just a short walk down the road and I was in Sierra City where my first stop was the general store to buy a half gallon of Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream. I ate about 3/4 of it then have searched for a place to stay. I didn't want to pay much tonight, since getting here now was not my original plan. At the Red Moose Inn they let hikers set up camp in their back yard for free! They let you shower and do laundry, for free! They have internet and phone, for free. I am going to leave a nice donation, the feeling of trail magic is coming back! It is amazing to feel such wonderful hospitality toward hikers again. It is a beautiful part of this trail that is definitely strongest felt in the southern portion of california in the desert, where 95% of all hikers make it through. Feeling it so far north now is wonderful.

Tomorrow morning, Corley and her family will arrive here via their Chevy! They are driving through the night and will get here and have set up two nights at the Yuba River Inn in a cabin for Les, Heidi, Corley, myself, Sonia, Dustin and Leah. It will be such a treat! On thursday June 28th, I am turning 23 years old and they are coming down for one to celebrate my birthday and for two so that Corley and I can get some time to spend together. It will be amazing to see her and her entire family. I love them all so much. My original plan was that obviously I would be on trail during my birthday and didn't worry about that at all. I figured I'd be out hiking alone and realized that I am just one person out of 7,000,000,000 currently alive on the planet. That really isn't significant at all, but such is the life of one person. But them driving down just to celebrate me makes me feel like I really mean something to some people and that makes me feel more happiness than I can remember feeling, and that is all thanks to Corley and her family. I cannot wait to see her, hold her, kiss her, and spend time with her entire family for the next couple days! What a trail and adventure I am on!!

Posted by walkinman 11:43 Comments (0)

South Lake Tahoe

Some tough days....

View Thru Hike PCT on walkinman's travel map.

After a few days of rest in Mammoth Lakes, I got a ride back to Tuolomne Meadows from Tim, the guy who gave me a ride into Mammoth. It was great and he was a great guy and very helpful in my journey. I was able to be back on the trail and hiking at 0600! It was an early day, but I made it out and was happy to be back hiking. I headed north and made a good 27 mile day to Benson Pass. It was a weird day though, the mosquitos have really began to get annoying and I hoped that up at the pass there would be no water and a breeze to keep them away, but I was wrong. All day long they kept me from taking breaks and made it just a tough day. I think I over worked myself.

The next day I was not feeling good. I couldn't eat my breakfast due to my stomach aching. And hiking grew tougher as the day went on, just from not feeling like eating too much. I only made a 20 mile day to Wilmer Lake, where the mosquitos were ridiculous! I hurried and set up my tent, walked far away from my tent, then ran back and shoved everything inside. I closed it up, then did the same to get water and ran inside my tent but there were still about 50-100 mosquitos that had gotten inside with me. It was only 1800, but I went to sleep and woke up at 0000 to make myself dinner, which was delicious and mostly mosquito free.

I got out early and avoided some mosquitos, and the climb to dorothy lake pass was very nice and gradual. My stomach was still giving me some problems and I realized during the day that my lighter had broken open in my pocket and leaked all over my snack food. So there are quite a few things that could be causing my naseau. It may be giardia, but I don't have the runs, just stomach cramps. It may be that I have been pushing myself too hard. It may be that I ingested some lighter fluid. I don't know! But I made one of the last big climbs in the Sierra Nevadas over to Sonora Pass. I met up with hikers I had been with before. Kambucha, Hawkeye, Joker, and Wrong Way. They gave me some antibiotics to take for a few days and I just hope they help! At the end of the day I had done just under 31 miles. My longest day yet!!

I slept well and got an early start in the morning, still feeling a little weak on the morning climb. I am not enjoying the weight of the bear canister I am still carrying. So I held it in my hands for the climb. At the beginning of the day, I figured I would just go 23-26 miles, a good day, but not too long. By the end of the day, that group of hikers caught me and I figured I would keep up and make it to Ebbets Pass with them. So I followed on! I made the pass at the end of the day, hiking another 31 miles to get there! I felt much better at the end of today than at the end of the day before, and still no diarreah to make me worried about giardia. I'll keep my fingers crossed!

I hiked out in the morning feeling good and wanting to keep these guys pace for another 31 mile day! It was a nice day out of Ebbets with not many tough climbs. So the morning went very well! I was pleased and the wind was still helping with the mosquito situation, but that wasn't so much the case in the afternoon. We got down to Carson Pass and ate some dinner a couple miles before camp. After eating, my stomach began to ache a little, but after 20 minutes of walking, I felt better and was moving great. After the little climb up from the pass I could see Lake Tahoe off in the distance. This was amazing! I have walked this far, enough to see Lake Tahoe! I could not believe it! How amazing to go this far. We made camp early-ish and slept great! Another 31 mile day. 93 miles in 3 days. It will be a little while before I do that again, but I can do it!! And making it happen now is just training my body for more! I'm excited to keep moving!

I am now in South Lake Tahoe, right next to Nevada. It is pretty awesome. Every day has it's ups and downs and I struggle with this most days. Wondering why I am putting my body through all this and how much I just want to get there faster than my body can give. But then I go to sleep and wake up in the morning feeling so much better! I miss Corley, the love of my life, so much every day. I miss my parents and my entire family at home. But I know that this is only for a short time and once I have finished this hike it will be one of the most amazing things I have ever done and I will be remembering it for the rest of my life. This goal is too much to give up on because of my head telling me it is too hard. I can do this and will finish this hike!!

Posted by walkinman 13:35 Comments (0)

The High Sierra Nevada Mountains

240 miles of trail

View Thru Hike PCT on walkinman's travel map.

Well I left Kennedy Meadows a while ago now with a good group of people. The first day out was the Monday of Memorial Day. LOTS of people out. I am pretty sure I ran into at least 50-100 people coming down the trail that day. It felt very weird after only really seeing Rubs and Southern and a handful of others on trail thus far. But we hiked in our first of many beautiful Sierran meadows, took a quick soak in the Kern River, and camped with over a dozen other hikers along Cow Creek. Yes, I made sure to treat my water!

The next day was required to be a long day. We have come to find that the days up in the Sierra Mountains will not so much rely upon water, but mileage will be determined by the passes and elevation. This day was either a very short day, 12 or less miles, or a 24 mile day to get over two passes. Now, these were out first passes, hitting 10,000 and 10,700 feet. The first, in the morning, was not bad at all! The second, in the afternoon kicked my butt. I was tired going up there! But made it over and down to Diaz Creek for camp. 23 miles or so.

The next day was a short easy 3 mile hike to Trail Pass and then off the PCT down to Horseshoe Meadow and an attempt to hitch down to Lone Pine. After 29 minutes of waiting, I began to walk back to ask a couple campers if I could buy a ride, but after 50 feet of walking, a truck appeared from the distant forest. I jumped up and down in excitement as Rubs got to his feet so we could try to get a ride. Well we did and get a comfortable ride in the back bed of a truck that had their mattress for sleeping set out. It was intense to drop nearly 8,000 feet to get to Lone Pine, a 24 mile drive. But we resupplied after the PO, got some subway, and tried to head out once Southern caught up and got his town chores done too. After 15 minutes, we got a ride up, and just had to pay for gas. Back on the PCT we hiked another 2 miles to Poison Meadow to stay the night. Such a great day to make it in and out of Lone Pine!

Now we just had to make it over to Crabtree Meadow. This hike went very well. After hiking into the Seqouia National Forrest, it was a level long meadow and down to Rock Creek for lunch. After lunch and picking some wild green onions, it was a good climb up to get to lower Crabtree Meadow and another 1.5 miles up to upper Crabtree Meadow, near the ranger station there. It is early in the season, so no ranger yet! We camped here, it had a bear box so tomorrow, to slack pack up Mt. Whitney, we could store out stuff.

After a great nights sleep and dropping whatever I could, I was off and headed up Mt. Whitney. I left at 0600 and had 7.5 miles and 4,000 elevation change to go! By 0900, I was reaching the top, 14,505 feet. At this point, I was standing upon the highest point in the contiguous 48 states! What a view! It was amazing to be up there. If I held my head at just the right spot, I was able to call home and call my AMAZING girlfriend! It was great. I stayed up there for a while before hearing a thunderstorm was due at 1600. So I headed down, but some of my hiking buddies were on their way up still. So I waited at crabtree for them to get back. It thundered and rained, but they made it down and we decided to stay the night rather than move on in the rain.

With one more days worth of food, we were off to go over Forrester Pass. After a great climb up to Bighorn Plateau with breathtaking views, it was down to Tyndell Creek. Then a 7 mile ascent to reach the 13,200 foot Forrester Pass. Going up had no snow, then the descent had only a couple large patches. It was easy hiking. Instead of postholing the way down, since it was 1530, I wore my micro spikes and rock hopped. The spikes gripped real easy to the rocks! I saw some beautiful bright teal lakes, but was moving quick to get to tree line so I could pop a squat. It was terrible timing for that! I made tree line after and hour and a half, then hiked a short bit further and made camp. That was quite a day!

Early in the morning I was off to make Kearsarge Pass to get out to resupply once again. I hit Bullfrog Trail and headed out, expecting an easy descent down to 9,000 feet at Onion Campground. But no, I had to climb 2,000 feet to go over Kearsarge Pass. But I made my way down, met some over night hikers, and got a quick hitch down to Independence. The original plan was to hitch then, to Bishop, but no one was stopping. After an hour I went to the other side of the town to hitch the opposite way to Lone Pine with no luck. Rubs and Southern eventually were down and their ride was headed to Lone Pine, so we went there to resupply. After we had gotten all our chores done, we hitched for an hour and a half before a guy from Tuolomne gave us a ride into Independence. He had a couple days until he needed to get to work, so we convinced him to come camp with us back at Onion Camp. It worked out great! Out and back in 6 hours!

Next day, we got back to the PCT and went over Glen Pass. I had 8 days of food on my back so this really kicked my butt! But afterward, we descended down to the Rae Lakes. They were so so gorgeous and the trail took us to the little islands that separated each lake. We we across from Fin Dome and a storm was brewing. We camped there and wait for Southern. An hour and a half later, we heard a "HEYYYYYY!" from across the lake. Southern was lost. But Rubs got him to our camp and we camped together for the last time. The next day, they were taking a 0 and my body wanted to get moving!

So in the morning I was off on my own. I met one guy early in the day, then saw no one else. I made it over Pinchot Pass and thought I would stop for the day. But Mather Pass was not far from Pinchot and the elevation drop between the two was only 2,000 feet down to 10,000 feet elevation, so I decided to go for a double pass day. I made it over and down to Palisade Lake to make camp. At 2030, as I was getting ready to sleep, I heard a "Hello" close by. Mouse, a hiker who left on May 9th was going by. He's doing 35+ miles a day to get done in time for college. He went on a few miles past where I had camped! Amazing.

Next day was down the Golden Staircase to Deer Meadow, where the affects of the November wind storm were easy to see. I was climbing over trees quite a bit. Then the 10 mile ascent to Muir Pass. This kicked my butt too. Just so much up. It got to my legs. I made it to Helen Lake, thinking it was the pass, but still had a mile to go. I met a few other PCT hikers and we hiked up to the pass. In this pass there was the Muir Hut. A volunteer ranger told them that day that sleeping there was.....okay, but no fires! So we slept there. I thought of going on, but the snow of Muir was plentiful compared to the others I had done. So I waited for morning.

I was out early and got through all the snow with my micro spikes on. It was very easy going! I met loads of John Muir Trail hikers this day. With the low snow year, lots had set out in the early season! I made the 12 mile ascent and headed back up towards Selden Pass. I stopped just before at Heart Lake, thinking of my Corley. I tried to take a series of "I" "heart" "You" pictures. I hope they turn out! I had also seen my first Eagle of the hike a mile before making camp! I did not expect that at all! It was great.

I took this day easy, I was getting cell service in the afternoon! I got to Bear Ridge and made a few calls to Corley, my mom, Joe, and Danielle for her birthday. It was wonderful to get to talk! I especially loved calling Corley. We hadn't had a chance to talk much lately in the Sierra Mountains, so that made the day great! After a few hours of relaxing and calling, I was off and made it a bit past the junction to Vermillion Valley Ranch and made camp with some service so I could spend the evening chatting with my girl! It was a great day!

Next I was off and over Silver Pass. I rested on top and a curious Yellow Bellied Marmot came so close to me as I sat that I could almost pet it! That was really awesome! I heard from some JMT hikers that there was a hot spring at Reds Meadow. So I started picking up speed to make the 20 miles to get there. It was 1000 already. Later while taking a break, Tony, the guy I got the tent from, caught me after attempting to find another hot spring. He couldn't get there because of the crazy trees down from the November storm. So we hiked fast to get to Reds at 1915. Found the hot spring. I soaked for a little before making up camp with cell service once again. It was wonderful!

In the morning I was off. I had just enough food to make Tuolomne Meadows. I hiked through the Devils Postpile National Monument and called my parents. With trying to meet up with Corley, I have now some set dates for making it home! It looks like I can make it on Labor Day. :D I hope I can keep those! After Agnew Meadow and finding some food left in a bear box, with no one close to Agnew, I knew it was up for grabs! Especially since it hadn't been open for...............a year I knew no one was coming for the food. It was still good too!! ;-) So I got plenty of food to make Tuolomne. That afternoon I made it over Island "pass" and made camp near Rush Creek, just before Donohue Pass. A curious deer was checking me out just like the Marmot the day before. The animals must know that I have been out a long time and am just part of the natural world now. ;-)

Up and over Donohue and I was in Yosemite National Park. I hiked the next miles into Toulomne Meadows and made it to the store/grill/PO. I got a double bacon cheese burger and relaxed for a while. I knew the next couple days were going to be 0 days at a motel, so I wanted to save money and camp cheap tonight! I walked into the camp ground, and a couple that were heading out rather than staying in their paid site, let me use their spot. It was so generous and wonderful! I got to sleep free that night!

In the morning I hitched and got a ride into Mammoth Lakes, where I will spend a couple 0 days to rest my body! I found that Motel 6 is $50 a night! So much cheaper than anywhere else I have been! I am excited to catch a break! I'll go see a movie, eat a bunch of calories, and just relax! It will be awesome! The next few months will be great seeing friends and family and loved ones along the trail! I cannot wait to keep hiking and make it all the way home! This adventure is amazing! :)

Posted by walkinman 13:08 Comments (0)

Trail Names....

There have been a few....

View Thru Hike PCT on walkinman's travel map.

First and foremost -

Got this one because I dropped my Nalgene bottle that I have had for a couple years that went with me to Hawaii, went on all my Lindblad Expeditions to Alaska and Mexico, and is covered in my stickers from Outward Bound to my new Go Pro camera sticker. It has a lot of sentimental value and I dropped it without knowing it. I figured it was lost, but hiked back a mile to look with no luck. Thankfully, Alaska, another thru hiker picked it up and carried it. I got it back and that is why I go by Lucky Nalgene.

This one is from me getting off trail and lost a couple times. It happened just past Deep Creek Hot Springs, I got off trail following the wrong stream when the PCT was hard to follow. I was off trail for 2.5 hours and eventually was walking the road to find my way back to where I got lost. Then again after Mt. Baden-Powell some day hikers were coming up and I got distracted and just followed the trail they were on, which was wrong and took me to a road, which I decided to follow until it hit the PCT again rather than hiking back up what I came down.

At the Saufleys, the clothes I borrowed while doing laundry were some white shorts you picture a guy sailing around the world wearing as well as a Hawaii button down shirt that I left unbuttoned. You can picture why pool boy comes to mind.

Hehe....well I just happen to laugh at farts a lot. So this one speaks for itself.

I somehow left my spoon/fork(not a spork, it was the two separate utensils), but I left my dinner wear at Tehachapi. Going to eat my Ramen that night was tough. I started off using two tent stakes as chop sticks, then switched to one as a shovel. It worked pretty well with peantu butter too.

I forgot to mention..... ROM COM
In Idyllwild I went and saw The Lucky One. Then in Big Bear City I went and saw 5 Year Engagement. Southern called me Rom Com. Romantic Comedy. Yeahhhhh

A new one.....FISHBULB
If anyone is a Simpsons Fan, they will remember the episode where Homer finds the Mr. Sparkle cleaning product from Japan. The image of Homer is made from a fish and a light bulb. Well I got Fishbulb because I tend to look very clean on trail, even after 12 days of no shower. That's where I got that one!

I'll update if I get more. :)

Posted by walkinman 18:19 Comments (0)

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