I broke camp around 7:30 am and reached a ridge which afforded sweeping views of the valley below, as well as some distant lakes that were barely visible through the haze of smoke from forest fires. Cowhorn Mountain loomed from the north end of the ridge. I pulled out my eclipse glasses and was surprised to see that the eclipse had already started!
I broke camp at a more leisurely pace this morning and left camp at around 7:00 am. I enjoyed the sunrise over Fish Lake as I walked along to the trailhead that lead back to the PCT. Less than an hour later, I was at the intersection with Highway 140. From here I had to make a choice due to the wildfires. I could leave the trail here and hitchhike around the closure on Highway 140, which is a busier road. Or, I could take my chances and exit the PCT at the Sevenmile Trail onto a little-used Forest Service Road…
It was an easy 8-mile hike to Fish Lake Resort this morning. The first 6 miles were on the PCT with a gentle elevation grade. The path did travel through some lava rocks which was kind of annoying but it wasn’t as bad as I had expected. I’ve also noticed an increase in blowdowns the farther away I get from Ashland. Many of the blowdowns look like they’ve been there a while, with established paths around the obstruction. But I’ve been on sections of trail that are worse.
Today I decided to hike the 16 miles from mile 250.2 to 266.1. Both the starting and ending points are accessible by major highways and so I planned to get a ride to and from the trail and stay again at the hostel tonight. Since it was not necessary to carry all my gear with me today, I left my tent and sleeping bag and sleeping pad behind, along with some other items. In thru-hiker circles, this (or leaving one’s backpack behind altogether) is called slack-packing and is frowned upon by some. I didn’t really care though and was glad to hike with a lighter pack for the day.
Today will go down in infamy as The Day of the Underpants Incident. I will get to the details in due time. But first…
I woke up early this morning in the attic room at the Nobody’s house. I was very grateful for Don and Rachel’s hospitality, but I didn’t want to impose any longer.
I was on the trail by 6:30 am this morning and I was one of the last hikers to leave tent city. Hikers are early risers. And there was a sense of urgency to get into Big Bear due to the storm coming in. The first part of the day, the trail rose in elevation as it wound through the Lake Fire Closure area. Trees were twisted and blackened by the fire and dotted the charred landscape.
I awoke this morning at the side of the trail sleeping on top of my tent. My first night of cowboy camping was a success! I assumed that I’d be awaken by other folks hiking during the night to avoid the heat but I wasn’t. If anyone did go by I slept right through it. This is unusual for me as I am typically a light sleeper. I was on the trail by 6:00 am as I learned my lesson from the previous 2 days and I wanted to avoid hiking in the hottest part of the day.