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Pacific Crest Trail Day 5 – Braving a Windstorm in the Sawtooth Mountain Wilderness

Last updated Apr 13, 2021 | Published on Apr 25, 2017

Day 5
Mt Laguna Campground Mile 47.5 to Mile 60.5

PCT Miles hiked today : 13
Feet Ascended Today: 2653
Feet Descended Today: 2220
Current Elevation: 4785
Steps: 42311

I’m currently camped on a patch of ground next to the trail near mile 60.5 with wind whipping the tent in giant gusts. Grit is blowing into the tent and my hands are covered with a layer of grime. I’m not entirely sure if my tent will survive the night intact, but I’m too tired to look for another spot and not sure if I’ll find anything better over the next 3 miles. It’s too windy to cook and I ate a dinner of tortillas with tuna packets huddled inside my tent.  I’m hunkered down under my sleeping quilt, worried that it will blow away if I get out of it.

I’ve Hiked 50 Miles Today!

The morning started out promisingly enough. I awoke feeling energetic and my feet felt better after a night off from hiking. I decided to put on a double layer of socks today to see if that would help the blister situation. I hit the trail around 8:30 am and was soon back on the PCT hiking through the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. The entire day I was treated to amazing views overlooking the Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness.   Incredible!

Panoramic of the Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness

Around lunchtime I hiked into the Pioneer Mail Picnic Area and ended up eating with Gordon, Janis and Jason who I camped with the previous night. Just past the picnic area we hiked through a section of trail that served as a memorial with multiple plaques lining the wall overlooking the wilderness.

Selfie with Jason and Janice at the Monument Wall

The rest of the day turned out to be really windy. The wind felt great as I was hiking but as the day got later I was worried about where I should camp. I was up at over 5000 feet and I couldn’t find anyplace protected from the wind.

Twinsies! Janice and I have the same gaiters!

I took the junction to the Sunrise Trailhead, as I was low on water and a water cistern was located nearby.  The water is primarily provided for horses as it is non-potable, but that’s what water filters are for :). I considered camping in the area as it was grassy and inviting, but immediately gave up on that idea when a gust of wind almost bowled me over.  I felt like I was in a wind tunnel.

Non-Potable Water? Yes Please!

Around this time I noticed that my ankles felt unusually itchy, and realized that I had rashes all over my feet and ankles. Apparently I had an allergic reaction from the new Ininji socks.  Darn.  A passerby suggested that the rash might result from the fact that the socks are new and unwashed as his daughter experienced something similar.  So I changed back to my old socks and continued searching for a campsite out of the wind.

Rashes from my socks

Eventually I gave up and pitched my tent in a little gully which offered scant protection from the wind.  And that’s where I am right now.  Hopefully my tent doesn’t blow over.

It is a pretty miserable evening but I expected to have some challenging times on the PCT.  Let’s hope tomorrow is a better day!

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Hi, I'm Unicorn!

I am an avid hiker, traveler, and adventurer who is on the mission to explore hiking trails around the world.  I’m also obsessed with National Parks, long-distance trails and other outdoorsy things.

I hope to share this knowledge with you and inspire you to explore new hiking trails too!


  1. Mr Dalrymple

    Hang tough, K! I look forward to following your progress. You’re living out one of my lifelong dreams. Seriously, since I was a twelve year old reading John Muir and camping in Yosemite, I always wanted to do the PCT, or at least large parts of it. Maybe Anna and the kids and I can meet up with you for a few miles when you’re coming through the Mt Hood or Columbia River Gorge area. Ramble on, you crazy unicorn!

  2. MK Barr

    Hey girl, I think your dates are off? Today is 4/26/17. I hope you survived the wind okay!!!

    • Unicorn

      Hi MaryBeth! I’m publishing my blog posts a week or so late. I have to wait until I’m at at area with good service or wifi to upload my posts. I schedule them so they publish while I’m hiking the next stretch.

  3. Kellz

    Hey! Doing great! If you get a chance could you let us know what you’re doing to help your blisters? I’m also prone to them. I’ll have to remember that about the socks as well.

    • Unicorn

      Leukotape!! Band-aids sweat off

  4. susieant

    Great pic of Sawtooth.

    • Unicorn



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