PCT Day 75 – Tuesday June 27
Fitzhugh Gulch Mile 1470.5 to Alder Creek Junction Mile 1452.6
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 18
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 854.7
Feet Ascended Today: 5403
Feet Descended Today: 2165
Current Elevation: 5394
I slept poorly again last night thanks to my lopsided sleeping pad. I was not a happy camper when I woke up this morning. I need a new sleeping pad stat. I still did not have any phone service and so I wasn’t sure if Exped customer service had replied to my email asking for a replacement. So I texted Daniel using my DeLorme and asked him to expedite my ThermaRest NeoAir and also my ThermaRest Z-Lite pad. It’s time to try a different pad. And I think I’m going to try hiking with 2 pads – an inflatable pad and a foam pad – this way I’ll have a backup in case one pops. Also the foam pad is nice for taking naps or taking breaks (which I do all the time – sitting directly in the dirt isn’t fun). The foam pad will also provide a layer of protection for my air mattress so it’s less likely to pop.
All I could think about was hiking to a forest service Campground which was a couple miles miles up the trail. It had pit toilets!! Hooray for pooping while sitting down! I was also hoping for picnic tables so we could eat breakfast at an actual table. I hiked like the wind and was pleased to discover that the pit toilet exceeded expectations. It had toilet paper and did not smell like dirty diapers or have trash strewn all over the place. Oh the luxury! While we ate our breakfast, a camper came over and gave us a plate full of bananas and peanut butter cups. Impromptu trail magic! Yay! Turns out, her husband is currently hiking the PCT.
After that the trail started climbing up up up the hill. We had a climb of over 5000 feet today which is the most I’ve climbed in a single day on the PCT before. And we did 18 miles today so it was a pretty solid day for us, especially considering that we hiked 20 miles yesterday.
The climb up the hill was relatively gradual and mostly shaded. Streams crossed the path every few miles so we had plenty of opportunity to get water and rinse out sweaty clothing. It was a pleasant walk, albeit long and tiring. I saw another deer, this time just short of the creek where Monarch and I planned to stop for lunch.
Near the top of the hill, the trail was completely washed out and it took some careful footwork to scramble over and around the exposed drainage pipe. I was the last to walk through and learned that Monarch tripped on some branches and fell pretty hard when she tried to cross. So I crossed very carefully.
When the trail finally reached the top of the hill, the path broke out of the trees and the views were magnificent. It was nice to see mountain tops in the distance after a few days of hiking in a lowland forest. And I had reception again for the first time in a couple of days. I checked my email and saw that Exped Customer Service agreed to send a replacement sleeping pad. So I’m having Exped ship it to my home. Daniel has already expedited my backup pad to Burney, my next trail town, and I’m going to try that for a while. After going through 2 Exped mats in 2 months I’m ready to try something new.
We camped in the forest near the junction to Alder Creek. It was a half mile and back to the creek so I walked an extra mile to get water. It was getting dark as I cooked a dinner of ramen and tunafish and dried veggies.