PCT Day 114 – Saturday August 5
Mile 1559 to 1579.1
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 20.1
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1191.6
Feet Ascended Today: 4170
Feet Descended Today: 3245
Current Elevation: 6992
I felt well rested this morning and energized to crush some miles, even though I woke a couple of times in the middle of the night. The first time, I heard rodents chewing and saw that I had forgotten a snack in my backpack. Thankfully they didn’t chew through the pack. The rodents could have the snack as far as I was concerned. The second time I felt drops of rain splash on my face. I was up in a flash and quickly put up the rain fly. The sprinkles stopped after a few minutes. It was 4:45 am. I never really went back to sleep after that.
I hiked over 4000 feet of elevation gain today, mostly in the morning, but I was in a groove. I put in my headphones and made good time. The weather was a bit cloudy today and the cooler weather helped. I hiked 12 miles by noon which is pretty good for me, especially given the elevation gain. When I sat down for lunch I was pooped. I spread my foam mat out on the ground and instantly fell asleep.
After my impromptu nap I was sleepy the rest of the afternoon. It was the total opposite of how I felt in the morning. I could barely keep my eyes open. After my nap, I walked to the next water source and found a nice shady spot under a tree. I leaned against the trunk and fell asleep instantly again. Geez I was tired all of a sudden.
I forced myself to get up. I was heading for the South Fork of the Scott River which I wanted to reach by dinner time. I filtered some cold water from the stream and added some Gatorade powder and before I knew it I had downed a whole liter. I guess I was thirsty. That revived me a little. I decided to switch from listening to an audiobook to Abba. That helped too. The rest of the hike was downhill all the way to the river.
I passed a lot of day hikers today – much more than usual. Then I remembered that today is Saturday. Also I’m hiking in the stunningly beautiful Trinity Alps Wilderness, which is fairly accessible by multiple trailheads. One large hiking group included a horse, 3 dogs, and about 8-10 hikers. I leapfrogged with them a couple of times today. It was nice to see people but I found the size of the group a little overwhelming too. At one memorable encounter, I was hiking in front of the group and suddenly felt the call of nature. I was on an exposed slope without much cover. I left my pack on the side of the trail, which is the international sign of “I’m pooping over here so don’t look very closely in this direction”, and scrambled up behind a rock. I had just finished my business and was walking back to my pack with my poo shovel in one hand and roll of toilet paper in the other when the group passed. They were really talkative and wanted to ask me lots of questions about the PCT. I answered their questions patiently, feeling super awkward.
I made it down to Scott River around 5:30 pm and cooked dinner. It looked like more of a large creek than a river, but it was a great place to take a break. I hiked another 2.5 miles after dinner and, when I reached 20 miles for the day, I started looking around. No established campsites were indicated on the map anytime soon, but I saw that the trail paralleled a ridge that crested a hundred feet or so uphill to my right.
I walked up the ridge and came to a lovely flat spot with magnificent views of the sunset. I was out of sight from the trail and soaked in the beauty of my surroundings.