July 2, 2017
Mile 1153.89 – Mile 1168.49
Today was a pretty good day. The morning’s hike was really nice, as we had dry trail for several miles to start the day. We started out by climbing to the top of the hill, which wasn’t too hard and served as a good warm up in the slightly chilly morning air. The mountain air always smells soooo good in the mornings. We spent the morning (and most of the day really) winding through pine forest.
We stopped for a lengthy breakfast break at an interstate rest area that was just off trail, where we unwittingly staged a social experiment. The people at the rest stop probably had no idea the PCT was nearby (or that the PCT even existed), and when they looked at us they definitely just saw a couple of homeless kids loitering at the rest stop. I mean, our stuff was exploded all over the ground and we were sitting on the concrete cooking up oats and coffee on our camp stoves. Most everyone refused to look at us, and when one guy accidentally made eye contact with me and I greeted him with a friendly hello, he quickly looked away and kept walking. Only one lady greeted us and asked us how we were doing. It was such a contrast from our experiences in trail towns where people are familiar with hikers, and kind of eye opening. It was like we weren’t even people. It definitely made me think about how I react when I see people out on the street. Our breakfast was amazing though. Hot oats and coffee, and I even got a piece of coffee cake out of the vending machine. So good.
When we continued on, we soon started coming across patches of snow. Luckily there was nothing too steep, and there was a great path of foot prints to follow. I don’t mind the snow when it’s not making me fear for my life, although it is still totally exhausting to walk on. We eventually reached Peter Grub Hut, which is a really cool little hut that is intended for skiers, but hikers can also sleep there in the summer. We didn’t really need to stop at that point, so we took advantage of the composting toilet and then moved on.
The trail was still pretty much entirely covered in snow, but it was the first time all day we got some really good views. We climbed up to the top of a hill and stopped at a dry patch for our lunch break. Shortly after lunch, we had to descend down some fairly steep slopes, but it was actually really fun. The slopes were shallow enough that we were able to just slide down on our feet through the slushy snow, cutting off a big chunk of trail super quickly. We also did a couple of glissades, which are always fun. I felt like a little kid playing in the snow.
When we got to the bottom of the hill, we had to navigate through some snowy forest, but soon the trail started to climb and became dry! It was sooo nice. Of course, as soon as we had to descend down the other side, the snow was back. As the day neared its end, I was totally and completely exhausted. At one point when we stopped to the off our microspikes, we somehow ended up sitting on a log for over half an hour. The trail really was pretty nice today, but hiking in the snow is still really hard work. We slogged through snowy forest for a while longer, before finally beginning another climb where the snow disappeared again. I’ve never been so grateful to be going uphill.
When we reached the top of the ridge, there was an awesome campsite right there waiting for us. It has an awesome and expansive view of the mountains stretching away into the distance. When we got to camp, we realized we had neglected to get enough water for camp chores. We’ve become so used to there being water pretty much everywhere that it totally slipped our minds. I ran along the ridge for a while in both directions, but of course, for the first time ever, there wasn’t a snowmelt stream to be found. We ended up having to back track down the trail a bit to where we had last seen water, which luckily was pretty close and wasn’t at all difficult to do without our packs on.
Ate ramen for dinner, stretched, and sat on a log to write this blog. It’s really nice out tonight. Cool, but not cold, and the bugs that were here initially seem to have died down a bit (or maybe I scared them all away when I sprayed myself with a bit of 98% DEET cancer juice). The sunset and sunrise should be awesome to watch with our great view. It’s still pretty early, but I’m totally exhausted from another day of snow slogging so I’m totally ready to get cozy in my quilt and pass out.