Day 22 – Friday May 5
Mile 221.6 to Mile 235.5
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 13.9
Feet Ascended Today: 3955
Feet Descended Today: 736
Current Elevation: 6142
I awoke this morning at the side of the trail sleeping on top of my tent. My first night of cowboy camping was a success! I assumed that I’d be awaken by other folks hiking during the night to avoid the heat but I wasn’t. If anyone did go by I slept right through it. This is unusual for me as I am typically a light sleeper.
I was on the trail by 6:00 am as I learned my lesson from the previous 2 days and I wanted to avoid hiking in the hottest part of the day. After hiking for about 5 miles up and over some hills, I took a break at Mission Creek to filter water and eat some breakfast. It was already 95 degrees. I rinsed my shirt and socks in the stream and hung them to dry on some bushes while I cooled my feet in the water.
I wanted to get another 4-5 miles in and then take a break when the day was at its hottest. Luckily today the path mostly followed the creek as it rose in elevation into the mountains. So there were lots of trees proving shade and great opportunities for taking a break along the way. It was pleasant following the creek – hearing the sounds of the water and knowing that water was nearby.
I took a siesta around 11:00 am with Tater, Apocalypse and Aladdin. We found a nice shady place under a tree and all put down our ground cloths and sleeping pads. I cooked dinner for lunch as I knew I’d be hiking late and might be too tired to do it later. Soon all four of us were sound asleep under the tree. It was nice to feel the afternoon breeze on my face and the sun filtering down through the leaves as I relaxed. A couple of hours later, I had to move spots as the position of the sun caused the shade to move, so I hiked up the trail a bit.
I was on the trail again around 3:00 pm. I could feel the temperature dropping a little – a storm was forecast to roll in over the next couple of days and the weather was starting to change. It was getting more overcast and the wind started to pick up a little. It felt wonderful. However, the trail rose in elevation after this point and the upcoming storm was forecast to bring snow to the higher elevations. We all felt a little urgency to hike faster and make it to the next town so we didn’t get stuck in the snow.
I ended my hike at mile 235.5 at a campsite under a large tree. It was the last official campsite before the upcoming Lake Fire Closure Area. A wildfire had burned this area a few years ago, and camping was not allowed in this area. We were allowed to hike through it though, fortunately, so hikers tended to all want to camp in this same spot so they wouldn’t have to camp in the closure area. There must have been 15-20 tents set up in an area that really only comfortably would have supported 3 or 4. We called it tent city.
There was a hushed atmosphere in tent city as hikers cooked dinner and set up their tents. The upcoming storm had everyone on edge a little. It felt like it might even rain tonight so I battened down the hatches just in case.