PCT: Day 98

Miles today: 20.8

Trail miles sum: 749.2

Trail location: 1418

Elevation: 2994

Spinning on the turntable: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Best of everything

I started hiking at 6AM this morning with “Free falling” in my earbuds. Iconic music with spectacular views from Hat Creek ridge. This is why I love backpacking.

Just as a side note, when I exited my tent at 5:40 all the other hikers in my vicinity were gone.

Traveling along the bottom of Hat Creek rim reminded me why I hate backpacking. The trail was full of “ankle poppers”. Loose, sharp rocks that roll if you step on them. Sharp rocks that jab through my Altra’s and cause me to wince and stutter step. Embedded rocks that are low profile and the exact same color of the dirt cause stumbling and slamming my toes. I was reeling around the trail like I’d tried the 24 beers in 24 hours trail test.

I think my frustration caused my troubles to magnify and seem worse. I stopped for a break after only two hours on the trail to try to relax and regroup. It helped a bit.

I Deeted up during my break for the first time this hike. I’m not a Deet fan, but the mosquitoes are starting to get more aggressive. I’m now carrying my head net for mosquitoes. I may need to use it soon.

My feet are rebelling against the new shoes. I felt blisters forming so I was aggressive about changing my socks every few hours. I may not think it’s too warm but my feet do, they’re sweaty.

Mid-morning I was passed by a NOBO hiker who up came through the Sierra. I’m guessing she was 25 years old. She had a few tales that left me much more confident in my choice to bounce ahead. Water crossing up to her chest and swimming across one river. Um, no. She mentioned the word “terror” at least once. Again, um, no.

She was a very, very early hiker into the Sierra. Her water crossings may be minor compared to other folks water crossings as the snow pack continues to melt (in relation to the water flow). I’m not sure when the maximum flow will occur.

She was now hustling to make it to Ashland to meet up with her family, averaging 30 to 34 miles per day. I walked (seemed almost like a trot) with her for a few minutes and then said my farewell. She was happy to be able to speed back up.

It began to feel quite warm as I was hiking this afternoon and since I had cell phone reception I checked the weather. Heading for 84 degrees by 5PM. It was warm! It wasn’t just my imagination.

I met up with Noelle around 5:15 and we went to a campground. Tomorrow we’ll go to Burney falls in the morning and then hike maybe ten miles in the afternoon.

After that I have a 70 or 80 mile stretch of solo hiking. The temperatures are headed into the 90’s within the next few days. Reading the trail blogs it looks like I’ll see snow on the ground within the next 35 miles as the trail elevation goes back up into the 6000 feet zone.

I’m game for no snow, but I don’t think that’s in the cards.

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