On day 80 of my PCT thru-hike, I awoke in the middle of the night to pee and must have accidentally let a bunch of mosquitoes into my tent. I burrowed under my sleeping quilt and could hear the whine of insects around my head, but it was too dark to see anything. I felt one land on my face and smacked it. It took me a while to go back to sleep as I felt like mosquitoes were going to dive bomb my face at any moment. When I woke in the morning, a dead mosquito and a bloody smear were smashed onto my hand. Nice.
Hiking Towards Hat Creek Rim
I was on the trail by 6:00 am as it was forecast to be hot today and we were planning to hike up the notoriously dry and exposed Hat Creek Rim. I first heard about Hat Creek Rim when I read the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed and I was looking forward to checking out this section for myself.
The mosquitoes were aggressive even at that early hour so I put on my headnet as I packed. My tent was filled with mosquitoes but I shook it out the best I could and folded it up to stow in my pack. I cold soaked some oatmeal and decided to hike away from the mosquito fiesta before stopping to eat my breakfast.
The trail got rockier as I neared the climb up to Hat Creek Rim. I began to see big volcanic rocks dotting the trail. Soon the entire trail was covered with large rocks in longer stretches that were hard to walk on. Even with my new shoes the rocks really slowed me down. While I do love the comfort and flexibility of my Lone Peak Altra hiking shoes, they aren’t the best shoes for rugged rocky terrain.
I filled up with 2 1/2 liters of water at our campsite this morning as the next water source was 13 miles up the trail at Cache 22. Some Trail Angels just put in a 500 gallon tank this year to make this section a bit easier with a shorter water carry. We planned to meet at the cache for lunch and to siesta while we waited for the heat of the day to burn off.
Siesta at Cache 22
Eventually the trail began heading uphill to the Rim at a very gradual grade. I could see Mt Shasta to the north and Mt Lassen to the south as I hiked – it was quite a view. The day wasn’t as hot as I feared and I ambled along, hiking past cows and taking pictures. When I arrived at the cache my friends were already there relaxing in the shade. I plopped down beside them on my new foam mat and we snacked and waited for the heat of the day to subside.
We discussed our plans for the next couple of days and, depending on when Monarch’s package arrives with her new shoes, we realized we might be spending the Fourth of July in Old Station. “I want to eat watermelon on the Fourth of July,” said Monarch. A few minutes later, a day hiker came up and offered us some watermelon, strawberries and pineapple. Wow! What amazing trail magic. That is the most delicious watermelon I’ve ever tasted.
Camping at Hat Creek Rim
We relaxed until 5:30 or so and then hiked the 3 remaining miles up to the Communications Tower on the top of the rim. From this vantage point, we had the best view of the valley below and the mountains beyond. It was spectacular.
I could have hiked more miles today, but honestly I’m not in a big hurry to get to Old Station as we’re likely going to have to wait until Wednesday for Monarch’s package to arrive. So we put up our tents here to watch the sunset. Wow. It’s a tough life 🙂
PCT 2017 Stats
PCT Day 80 – Sunday July 2
Mile 1404.4 to Hat Creek Rim Communications Tower 1388.2
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 16.1
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 919
Feet Ascended Today: 2650
Feet Descended Today: 537
Current Elevation: 5122
For more on my experience hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, visit my Pacific Crest Trail Blog page.