PCT Day 113 – Friday August 4
Mile 1539.7 to Mile 1559
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 19.3
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1171.5
Feet Ascended Today: 1694
Feet Descended Today: 2600
Current Elevation: 5928
I slept poorly last night. I kept rolling downhill within my tent, even though I propped up one side of my sleeping pad with my clothes bag in an attempt to level it out. Also – I don’t know how they got in my bug netting but ants were all over me last night. I kept waking up to ants walking on various parts of my body. Each time I would grab the ant (they were big and slow) and throw it outside my tent. But they kept coming. And I got stung twice by ants. Thankfully the stings were really mild and were only momentarily painful (not like the red fire ants back in the desert) but it was still unpleasant.
I checked my tent for holes later in the day and I didn’t see any so I’m not sure how they got in. I figured they swarmed in when I got up to pee in the middle of the night. Or maybe they squeezed in between the zippers on the door of my tent’s bug netting.
The one cool thing that did wake me up last night was a group of coyotes. I heard several coyotes howling together for a couple of minutes. It’s the first time I’ve heard coyotes on this hike so far – beautiful and mildly terrifying all at the same time.
l didn’t set an alarm clock last night and woke up around 5:45. I was on the trail by 6:30 but wasn’t moving very fast even though it was a pretty easy trail elevation-wise today.
I hiked about half a mile and came to a lovely meadow with a stream. This would have been a much better place to camp than the slanty shanty I ended up with. Ah well. Murphy’s Law dictates that there’s always a better spot around the corner no matter where you end up camping.
The trail followed along an exposed ridge for much of the morning. At my lunch break ate at where the trail came to a saddle with spectacular views in all directions. I met another hiker named Monk there who I previously met in Sierra City. I gave him some duct tape as I currently have plenty of extra tape wrapped around my trekking poles. He used it to repair a hole in his tent caused by a mouse. The mouse chewed a hole into his tent last night to get at a bag of trail mix as he had run out of room in his food bag. He woke up to the mouse scurrying around the foot of his tent and shooed it out the door.
I ambled slowly along the trail the rest of the afternoon, taking lots of breaks. At 6:30 pm I came to the Scott Mountain Campground at the intersection of Highway 3 and got to sit at an actual picnic table to cook dinner! It was heavenly! I joined another hiker named Naked Ninja for dinner (he wasn’t *actually* naked but was wearing a hiking kilt). He hadn’t seen another thru-hiker in two days. I’d seen plenty of other hikers but that was because I was hiking so much slower than all the other hikers in this section that I was constantly being passed. The hikers I met now had all made it through the Sierras and were on a mission to make it to Canada in one season. The vast majority were solo male hikers who were bearded, skinny as hell, and were doing at least 25-30 miles a day (sometimes more). These guys were all going at the same speed and so didn’t see eachother.
I had hiked 18 miles today wanted to get as close to 20 miles as possible. Fueled by macaroni and cheese, I hiked on. I was energized by my conversation with Naked Ninja as it’s the longest conversation I’ve had in 4 days. I’m really enjoying hiking solo right now but I do get a little starved for human company sometimes. I ended up hiking another 1.3 mikes to a nice little camping spot up the hill. That only put me at 19.3 miles for the day – I would have preferred to hike another .7 miles to hit my goal of 20 miles but I had no idea if there was any good camping up ahead. The next established camping spot on the map wasn’t for another 5 miles and I didn’t want a repeat of last night’s fiasco. I was tired and wanted to sleep well tonight. So I set up my tent on a flat, ant-free patch of ground and watched the tail-end of the sunset between the trees.