No other campers arrived during the evening or night. I woke at 530 and was slower going and didn’t get hiking until 630/645. I still saw the sunrise above the taller mountains, I love these moments so dearly.
Within the first mile after starting I was passed by my first hiker in over 24 hrs. Pied Piper is his name, a tall very wirey man at age 55 who is attempting to thru hike after a previous attempted a few years ago ended due to injury. He is very nice and easy to talk to. I’m not certain if he felt sad that I hadn’t seen anyone or if he too was feeling a bit lonely but it was decided that we would hike together.
The focus again centered on where is the water, breaks came atcwater sources as did where we would camp. Just this weekend the opened a portion of trail for PCT hikers only, but we are unable to camp in that stretch which either meant camping early or hiking 23 miles to get to the NorthFork Ranger station. At the Mill Creek Fire Station, our first water source, both Pied and I talked about it and felt like going the distance. Yay, so glad to have a buddy even if for a day.
I set off first to work my way up the first hill. Man was it warm but I felt as though I was going at a good pace for the heat and climb, but soon after Pied with his long legs passes me with ease. I could hear the roadway for some time and the views were deserts and unvaried which was good because I had to be on high alert for Poodle Dog Bush, rattlesnakes and horse post holes (where a horses hoof breaks through the ground a good 2 to 4 inches). I’m not certain if it was the company or the unvaried views, but I didn’t take many pictures this morning.
After the break the trail goes through miles of crazy overgrowth. I found I was becoming wicked cognitively fatigued having to watch every single step I took due to the overgrowth, Poodle Dog Bush, rattlesnakes and horse post holes. I even found a few ticks crawling on me…disgusting.
Eventually we crested and ate now in the burn zone. It surprisingly is in way better condition than the miles leading up to it, so thank you TrailGorillas, you are amazing!! Also after this point there were some amazing views and wildflowers became more prominent which was very energizing for me helping the last several miles go by quickly.
We got to camp on the later side for me, about 545. I washed my socks and hung them to dry because between the crazy heat, sweaty feet and dusty gritty sand turned them into sandpaper and I didn’t feel like getting my first bluster now. Shortly after arriving the handsome cowboy (Trail name Orion) I crossed paths with a few days ago arrived. Seriously movie star quality in my opinion. He is from Washington State and is riding the PCT in honor of his father who died of a hereditary disease, Spinal Cerebellar Ataxia. Look up his website, The Wild Within Us for details. http://www.thewildinus.org/
Pied, Orion and I sat around talking well after dark about various topics but I kept going back to ticks in my mind only to find on crawling on my forehead. So I sat there combing my hair as though I was looking for lice…attractive I know. I’m laying bed and everything I feel I think is a tick, turn on my head lamp and thankfully nope.