PCT Day 86 – Saturday July 8
Mile 1328.4 to Humboldt Road Mile 1309.4
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 19
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 997.4
Feet Ascended Today: 4136
Feet Descended Today: 2570
Current Elevation: 6623
I woke up groggy today due to our late evening with the trail angels. Also I couldn’t find my earplugs last night and I kept hearing rustling noises in the woods. It sounded like large animals stepping on the bed of pine needles – I’m pretty sure it was deer but I was mildly terrified it might be a bear.
I did have fried chicken in my food bag that I had intended to eat for dinner the previous evening before we were invited over to the trail angel’s house. I’m sure that would have attracted animals. But nothing disturbed my tent or things that I could see. Some other hikers told us they put a motion-activated camera on top of their tent one night to see if any interesting animals came by. They said all kinds of surprising animals came by to check them out but never disturbed them. They advised us that it was just better for your peace of mind not to know how close all kinds of animals came to your tent.
I still made it on the trail by 6:45 am – I wasn’t super hungry as I was still full from the awesome dinner the night before so I nibbled on a Clif Bar as I walked out. My back was really sore this morning – the muscles on my left shoulder specifically were hurting. I’m not sleeping very well on my backup air mattress so that might be a contributing factor. I stopped after a couple of miles to stretch my shoulder and I poured out a liter of water to lighten my load.
I met Monarch, Spider Mama and Tetris at Soldier Creek to fill back up on water. However, I was hungry so I decided to eat for breakfast all the fresh foods I had originally packed out for dinner the night before – fried chicken, cherries, carrot sticks. We had 12 miles to the next (convenient) water source so I was glad to lighten my food load as I had to carry a couple of liters of water which was heavy.
I spent the majority of the day slowly trudging up Butt Mountain. You heard me right – it’s literally called Butt Mountain. Teehee. It was a long ascent of over 4000 feet today but the views were lovely. There were a few patches of snow near the top but nothing too bad at all. Easy peasy.
Around noon I passed the PCT Halfway marker! I, personally, have not yet hiked half of the PCT because we’ve been skipping around, but passing the halfway marker is quite a milestone irregardless!
I was passed in the morning by a rider on a horse. His name is Gary Pegg and he is riding the entire PCT on horseback. Gary invited us to swing by his campsite tonight at Humboldt Junction for a beer. I wasn’t sure if we’d make it that far but I said that we would see.
Our group rendezvoused at Little Cub Spring in early evening to get water and discuss if we wanted to hike further. We had only hiked 15 miles so far – I was feeling good and was happy to keep going. We were enticed by the possibility of beer if we camped with the horse guy so we decided to go another 4 miles to Humboldt Road Junction where he planned to camp. Monarch wasn’t feeling it today and decided to hike fewer miles.
When I made it to Humboldt Road, sure enough the horse trailer was camped there. Gary’s wife drives a truck with the horse trailer to a rendezvous point each evening. Their trailer is set up with a bed, kitchen, shower and room for both horses. They have two horses and Gary switches between them each day. We had a lovely evening chatting with Gary and his wife and playing with their dog Rose – they gave us beer and homemade chocolate chip cookies. Yum!
You can follow Gary’s adventure here : http://www.garypegg.com.
We were camped on a bluff a short ways away from the trailer and were treated to fabulous views of Mount Lassen as the sun set.