PCT DAY 95.. July 9th Mile 1217.2 6600 feet 23.2 miles
Left the comfort of River Haven in Sierra City where we were staying.. at 4 this morning to get an early push up the 7500 foot mountain before the sun came up and made the climb a sauna!! Then the rest of the day was a pleasant stroll through the hills!!
Well.. it’s never really a stroll as the drier the trail gets.. the greater the mileage.. especially now that we’re out of the extremely slow and low mileage days of the Sierra?! Today.. we were once again finding our legs for the 25 to 30 mile days ahead! So though it was hot.. and the ups and downs continued with a few patches of snow.. over 90% of the trail was comfortably padded.. dry and easy to navigate.. all important factors in attaining those high milagres..
PCT DAY 96.. July 10th Mile 1241.7 5000 feet 24.5 miles!
Started early at 3 to scale the mountain shadowing our camp at A-Tree Spring! Most of the day was through forest covered hills and valleys on dry trail though there were a couple of very short snow or ice patches! Finished the day at Fowler Creek.
Since yesterday on leaving Sierra City we’ve all decided that as we’ve finished with the snow.. or at least the majority of the snow.. where constant contact and keeping a close eye on one another was vital.. it is no longer necessary for us to hike the day as a group.. but rather individually.. Each at his or her own pace.. meeting up at a designated point and mileage in the evening! As the saying goes here in the hiker community.. HYOH or Hike Your Own Hike!
PCT DAY 97.. July 11th Mile 1261.0 5500 feet 19.3 miles (Big Creek Road tô Quincy!)
Hiked the trail through to Big Creek Road and hitched into Quincy.. a little town just off the PCT.. managed to find a place at the Spanish Creek Motel.. barely a single star facility.. but it was clean and quiet. perfect for us all! Resupplied and enjoyed pizza and salad for dinner!
Unfortunately Lovely Hearts feet are giving her a ton of pain.. a combination of deteriorating shoes with huge holes in them (she has just received a new pair here in Quincy!) and an ankle sprain here on the PCT.. Consequently we have all decided to take a ‘zero’ here tomorrow.. to give her feet a rest instead of down trail in Chester as planned!
PCT DAY 98.. July 12th ‘Zero day’ in Quincy
Relaxed and enjoyed the day doing absolutely nothing! Hot out.. so caught up on sleep in the comfort of our air conditioned rooms!
Hiked out of Quincy and though Lovely’s feet are no where near better.. we managed to hike the mountainous terrain.. the ups and downs for 20 miles to Indian Creek.. just past the tiny one store town of Belden..
Set up tents on extremely rocky terrain by the creek.. which unbeknown to us at the time.. turned out to be somewhat of a snake pit as Grizz and Lovely were visited 3 times in the night by various snakes?!!
PCT DAY 100.. July 14th Mile 1302.9 6500 feet 17.5 miles
Camped today at a beautiful little spot called Cold Spring.. nestled in the forest with clear.. cool.. fresh water! (No snakes!!) Caught up with our pals Rocky and Peaks before they continued on.. and various other hikers.. all heading northbound.. within our proximity..
Over the last few days we have crossed paths with a large number of either individuals or groups heading southbound from a place called Ashland.. these hikers crossed the southern desert and then decided that rather than face the snow of the Sierra during this abnormally high year.. they would hitch several hundred miles north and then hike south.. hoping the snow would have melted by the time they ‘re’ arrive in the Sierra??! Following this they will then hitch north to Ashland again and continue their hike to Canada!
PCT DAY 101.. July 15th Mile 1328.8 5000 feet 25.9 miles
Today reached the ‘midway’ marker of the PCT.. YAHOO!! (Even though the mid point is about 5 miles further down the trail?! Anyway.. either way.. today is the day we start counting ‘down’ the miles to destination Canada! What’s more.. right when I got to the marker.. there was a doe and her baby almost within touching distance.. very unafraid of the human contact.. continuing with her feeding rather than skit away on seeing me..
The others joined me at the market about an hour later.. and after photos we set off separately to the highway and a hitch into Chester for a resupply.. shower and laundry in the morning! We camped on grounds belonging to.. and right behind the local church.. thanks to their kind policy of allowing PCT hikers a complimentary one night stay! Unfortunately my first set up was over a very angry nest of fire ants.. so had to relocate tent and belongings to another corner of the yard leaving the ants to settle.. and fortunately forget the bright color of my tent and their subsequent tensions?!!
Hitched a lift this morning courtesy of the local ‘Highway Patrol’ vehicle due to one very generous policeman! Commenced the trail in the mid day heat.. (not a good idea.. but one in which we had very little choice?!) The morning had been spent resupplying.. showering and laundry! Unfortunately this consequently made for a very short day as we were all totally exhausted by 4pm!! We therefore decided to enjoy the cool of the North Fork Feather River.. rehydrating.. soaking our feet and setting up camp!
Planning another very early one tomorrow as we have another mountain to climb and would far rather take this on in the pre dawn cool.. than later in the day after the sun has risen!
PCT DAY 103.. July 17th Mile 1363.0 6200 feet 25 miles
Started from North Fork Feather River at 3am and passed through the 19 miles of Lassen Volcanic National Park (a bear canister is required for camping in this section and as we don’t have the canisters anymore.. we had to pass through the in one day!)
At one stage early in the morning and whilst hiking alone..I was happily chewing on an oat bar.. when I realized that not 30 feet away.. was a light coffee colored adult bear.. also chewing.. on a fallen log!! He looked up at me as I froze in my tracks.. but quickly returned to his preoccupation with the log and his chewing! As I realized he didn’t give two hoots that I was there.. I in turn decided not to give two hoots either.. and took out my phone to record this encounter with nature.. and his indifference that I was there! Just then another black bear appeared in the trees behind the first.. and deciding my luck was limited.. slowly continued down the track and on my way.. more importantly.. out of their way!! Another AMAZING experience of nature on this trail!
Unfortunately Grizz and Lovely Heart could not make the northern boundary of Lassen Volcanic NP.. so decided to stay on at Drakesbad Guest Ranch.. both Rock Doc and myself have time constraints whereas Grizz and Lovely have somewhat of a more relaxed schedule and no real constraints.. so while we spoke about it.. we decided it’s probably time to split the group rather than rush the others! We will however meet up in a few days for a weekend with Grizz.. Lovely Heart and her AMAZING family in Tahoe!!
PCT DAY 104.. July 18th Mile 1391.1 4600 feet 28.1 miles
Today Rock Doc and I got up at 3 and set off for the 10 mile hike to Old Station.. (a small town on the PCT with a gas station and JJ’s Cafe which served a delicious breakfast and the BEST milkshakes yet on the PCT!) The staff were also extremely hiker friendly so we joined Rocky and Peaks as well as 4 or 5 other’s for breakfast on the veranda!
Following this.. and whilst everyone was digesting there fill and taking a nap.. Rock Doc and I set off for the notorious Hat Creek Ridge.. which has the reputation for having one of the hottest and driest sections of the PCT! It took us just over 6 hours of hard walking.. climbing over sharp volcanic rock and scree.. to reach the top and our camping site for the night!
PCT DAY 105.. July 19th Mile 1407.2 3300 feet 16.1 miles
This morning we climbed down from Hat Creek Ridge to the baking valley floor below.. starting at 6 and arriving at Bernie Mountain Guest Ranch at 11.30am. Set up camp and completed chores like laundry and shower before taking the rest of the day off and relaxing at the ranch!
Today’s hike.. like yesterday’s was mostly over the extremely abrasive volcanic rock.. which WILL take its toll on any footwear.. whether that be boots or trail runners?! Regarding footwear.. I am now on my second pair of boots! I choose boots for the extra side and ankle support due to earlier injuries.. Starting with a pair of Lowas and then changing to Solomans for the Sierras! Others though have opted for trail runners.. especially once out of the snow.. popular amongst the hiking community are Ultras.. Merrills and again Solomans! Different shoes or boots fit different feet and what works for one won’t necessarily work for another!
‘On On’!! Tomorrow back to the trail for an early start.. and on to Mt Shasta.. 90 miles hence!!