July 14, 2017
Mile 1312 – Soldier Creek (1312-1325.52)
Once again, we didn’t even bother setting an alarm for this morning, knowing we only had to make 13 and a half miles to the last campsite before the town of Chester. It was another super lazy morning, and we didn’t leave camp until almost 9. A little over a mile into the day, we had to go 0.3 miles off trail to a spring to get water, and that was pretty much our only water source for the day (until camp). We’re starting to actually have to think about the distance between water sources again, and I should probably update my water report because a few things that have been marked on our apps have been dry (something that hasn’t happened in ages). We totally got spoiled with water in the Sierra and other snowy areas, as we almost never had to carry more than a litre and we could be sure that water would be available around almost every turn. But not anymore.
The day was, once again, pretty uneventful. We saw plenty of other hikers again today, and a lot of them were travelling south. We stopped to eat breakfast in a shady spot on the trail, then had to tackle a few miles of climbing before lunch. The trail wound in and out of the forest, occasionally giving us an awesome view of Mt. Lassen (still not sure if that’s actually what it is, but I’m just going to go with it).
We ate lunch at the top of the climb, near a side trail that lead to the top of Butt Mountain (heh). After lunch, the rest of the day was pretty much entirely downhill. We did have to cross a few patches of snow right after lunch, but it was nothing major. The trail was in the trees for most of the afternoon. Not long after we left our lunch spot, we came across the PCT midway marker, that marks the halfway point between Mexico and Canada. Due to little changes in the trail over the years, it’s not actually on the halfway point, but whatever. It’s also obviously not the halfway point for us, since we skipped those 300 miles, but whatever. It was still an exciting milestone to reach. We got our photos and continued down into the forest.
Just before we reached camp, Gummies hit his personal 1000 mile mark (since he missed about 22 miles after he was airlifted, our milestones are now all slightly different). We got to camp, and there were actually other tents already set up! We haven’t camped with other people in what feels like forever. As we were setting up, more and more people arrived, and I think we have something like 8 tents set up here now. I think all of the other people camped around us are going southbound, so they all just came out of Chester. We’re camped beside Soldier Creek, which I was hoping might be large enough to swim in, or at least sit in, but it’s just a small stream so a bandana bath it was. It’s still nice to camp beside a stream, since you can get relatively clean before bed, you don’t have to worry about how much water you use in camp, and you get to fall asleep to the white noise of a babbling brook.
Even though we started super late this morning, we managed to keep our breaks to a reasonable length and so we arrived at camp quite early (around 4pm). As such, I’m currently writing my blog before even making dinner, and I might even read my book a bit or listen to some podcasts before bed. This is our last real trail day of taking it easy, as tomorrow there’s only 3 miles into town, we’ll be zeroing in town on Sunday, and then it’s time to crush miles. Super excited for a bed, shower, pizza, a milkshake, laundry…….