Hours on Trail – 11.5
Mile Marker – 417
– Note: I apologize for the lack of posting as of late. We’ve been without service (or at least enough that would allow me to post) for the past several weeks. I’ll be mass blogging while we have service, so bare with me as I get you updated. As of 6.4.18, we are approximately at mile marker 920 and are happy, healthy, and thoroughly enjoying this trip. We both really appreciate you keeping up with our adventure. –
We awoke at 5am to the birds already chirping in the trees. We both wanted to try to get an early start and be in front of the rather large amount of people who stayed in the main campsite area. But as is becoming a pattern for us, it’s hard to get moving in the morning. While we found the leak in my pad last night, the glue needs time to cure so it was another night mostly on the ground for me. I don’t mind it a bit, but I also get less sleep and thus move much slower. But we got up, even if it was slow, packed up and were on the trail a bit before 7am.
Keith has been having some leg muscle issues, so we stopped a little ways into our morning for a quick rest and stretch. While we were stopped a couple hikers passed by. We said “Good morning” and there was a lot of talk about stopping at “the restaurant” today. With Keith and I not being huge into towns and the social gatherings around them, we were unaware of any restaurant nearby. But throughout the day we overheard of a ranch restaurant 1.8 miles off trail down Hwy. 2 which apparently was the place to go. Keith and I quickly decided that type of scenario was not for us, and responded “not today” to the many hikers who asked us if we were stopping.
The morning went quickly and rather uneventful. We stopped at a spring for water. There was another water source 2 miles down the trail, so we each filtered a liter and called it good. A little ways down the trail we stopped for second breakfast a ways off the trail and enjoyed watching the squirrels and birds go around their day. By 9am it was already pretty warm so we had a feeling it may get rather hot. After crossing Hwy 2 a few more times and joining and old abandoned dirt road bed, we came across the next water source. A piped boxed spring. While this may sound fancy it’s not really. The spring has a metal container around it to keep extra water and a small on/off spigot is located at the bottom corner. Turn the spigot on and the spring water sprays out at you with quite the force. My left arm got pretty wet the first time as the spray surprised me. We planned to have 3 liters each total which should be enough to get us through the day.
Heading back out onto the trail we walked and talked for quite awhile. We talked a decent amount today compared to other days. Discussions about Hershey Park, airplanes, space, self analysis, and Trail Magic were among many of the topics. We soon passed the crossing of Hwy. 2 which many get a hitch to the restaurant down the way. 3 hikers were already at the road waiting to get a ride. We passed on by and soon found a nice little spot in the shade for our lunch. We hadn’t seen really any hikers since we’d passed Hwy 2 and assumed the large majority of hikers had stopped for quite awhile at the restaurant.
After lunch and after I tended to my slowly growing arch blister we headed back to the trail. The day was certainly getting warm and the environment had changed from forrest-like to the familiar sandy desert. Although not too desolate, the picky bushes and population of lizards told us of our environment change. We happened upon two hikers at a trail junction. The PCT is open to horseback riding and some sections are not safe for said activity. So occasionally there are equestrian detours. This was one of them but with a twist, a small handwritten sign read “Magic” with an arrow pointing down the detour. The two other hikers headed down excited while we decided to pass and move on. We still had a long day ahead of us and while we greatly appreciate Trail Magic, were also a little peopled-out.
Continuing our long conversations we headed up and down the ridges. While today wasn’t necessarily difficult we seemed to always be either going up or going down. Long reaching views stretched out to our left and right as we sweated under the hot sun. I missed the cold mountains, but certainly was greatful it wasn’t hotter. We stopped frequently throughout the day, my back was bothering me a bit and resting it was nice. Soon we crested over our last ridge of the day. It also happened to be the most rewarding due to the view of the land below. You know it’s going to be a great view when before you reach the top all you can see is sky. Walking across the ridge we circled around the end and began to drop into the valley below.
Tonight we planned to go a little further than 20 miles to set us up for our resupply in Agua Dulce in a few days. This meant finding a camp spot not on the maps. While we’ve certainly found nice spots not on the map before, this was the first day we planned on finding a spot the “old fashioned” way. I was slightly nervous since I didn’t know the terrain too well, but the view from the top of the ridge seemed promising and Keith was confident. As we headed into the valley we found a nice flat spot on a smaller ridge. I sat with the packs while Keith ran ahead to check the next ridge. He soon returned and we headed to the next ridge. A nice spot next to a pile of boulders would be our home for the night. It was a great little spot far removed from all other trail humans. We set up the tent, made dinner, and crawled into bed. I watched the stars come out through the bug netting and gazed at the large open sky. A great ending to another great day.