PCT Day 45 – Sunday May 28
San Francisquito Valley Road Mile 478.2 to Upper Shake Campground Mile 493.4
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 15.2
Feet Ascended Today: 3622
Feet Descended Today: 2260
Current Elevation: 4445
I woke up early this morning under the trees and was packed up by 5:45 am. I felt refreshed, physically and emotionally, and ready to hit the trail. I walked around to the front of Casa de Luna and was happy to see that they were serving pancakes this early. Mr. Anderson was cooking them in the kitchen. I got in line and they were worth the wait. Yum!
Terrie started shuttling hikers to the trailhead around 7:00 am. She could only take 5 hikers at a time in her minivan and Sunkist, Dr. Pain, Alladin, Apocalypse and I piled in. (Tater and Captain Underpants caught the next shuttle). Before we got in the van, however, Terrie insisted that she take our picture. Getting your picture taken at Casa de Luna involves a certain surprise which I won’t ruin for you but let’s just say it’s hilarious and memorable.
Today I hiked with Apocalypse, Alladin, Tater, Dr. Pain, Sunkist and Captain Underpants. These are all folks that I’ve hiked with before, but never all together as one crew. And it was super fun. The day started with a 900-foot ascent into the hills and I marched up that thing fueled with pancake power. I got a head start on everyone else and I was the first one to the top, for once (I’m always the last which is a little depressing sometimes). And right there I knew it was going to be a good day. My foot didn’t hurt that much today which is encouraging.
At the top of the hill we paused for a break because there was a cell signal but it was a short-lived break due to the bugs. Biting flies were aggressively swarming us – it’s the worst the bugs have been on this trip so far. So I was sufficiently motivated to keep hiking. When we paused for another break a couple of hours later I even got out my deet and headnet. Ugh.
We paused for lunch at a day use picnic area on Lake Hughes road. There was supposedly a picnic table available at the site but it had burned down so we put our sitpads on the ground in the shade. The bugs were still annoying but thankfully manageable at this spot. Soon everyone was reclined on the ground with their hats covering their faces
After lunch we hiked up into yet another burn area and past a small cave. It was hot today but bearable. I used my umbrella to block the worst of the sun and munched on Skittles and drank Gatorade (I’m consuming so much sugar on this trip that if I don’t get any cavities as a result – despite my teeth-brushing – it will be a miracle).
We camped at the Upper Shake Campground, which looks to be an abandoned Forest Service car camping campground, but is more than adequate for PCT Hikers. The bugs were obnoxious but bearable – barely. I wasn’t in a hurry to hang around outside my tent after dinner, however, and retreated to the comfort of my bug-free tent after I ate dinner and brushed the sugar off my teeth.