PCT: Day 116

Lily pads

Miles today: 19.5

Trail miles sum: 993.9

Trail location: 1676.2

Elevation: 6122

Spinning on the turntable: Bryan Adams; Shine a light

Early morning moon

Early morning moon

A moonlit photo is an indication of an obscenely early start to the day. I woke at 4AM, hit the snooze twice, then ate breakfast and started hiking by 5AM.

Guthook Screenshot

Guthook July 28

This is a massive hill climb so I wanted to get it done before it got too warm.

PCT Views

Morning views

The brutal truth is that this part of the trail stinks. It’s a very tough uphill combined with serious bush and shrub overgrowth onto the trail.

Other hikers are completely bypassing this section of the trail and road walking to the next trail crossing. Easier grade and no overgrown plants to strip the skin off the legs. I don’t think twice about hitching a ride on dedicated road walk sections. I do think twice about skipping the trail to walk in the road because it’s easier though.

PCT Hitchhiker bees

Hitchhiker bees

I’ve noticed that bees like to hang out on my legs when I’m not walking. They seem busy eating, but I’m not sure what’s so interesting to them unless it’s my sweat.

Pacific Crest Trail

Piped spring water

This spring water had a pipe installed. I love spring water! So cold and delicious. Usually my water bottles warm up in the sun, so cold water is a real treat.

The second climb of the day spiked my irritation.

Guthook Screenshot

Guthook July 28b

The trail was fully exposed to direct sun. There was a serious series of switchbacks.

Guthook Screenshot

Guthook switchbacks

Burned trees

Burned trees

There are just sections of the trail that I believe were cattle trails at one point and were stitched together to make the PCT. Technology allows us to look at the big picture of the trail and say “Hey! This makes no sense!” Sigh.

No shade available in this spot!

PCT Dinnertime


I threw in the towel on hiking around 6PM and cooked dinner. Tonight was a brand new rice concoction. As an added bonus I added a sausage that I cooked yesterday and froze overnight. I boiled the sausage for a few minutes then added the beans and rice.

Another hiker joined me around 7:30. His dinner consisted of snack foods. I imagine that his caloric intake was greater than mine! All calories are not created equal but some calories sure look more appealing!

The other hiker was trying to convince me to hike the AT but couldn’t come up with any compelling reason other than the AT is much worse in comparison. Huh? I should hike a worse trail so that I appreciate the PCT more?

I haven’t spoken to a single AT thru-hiker yet who has convinced me that the AT is a worthwhile endeavor. Time is precious and my interest in the AT remains very distant. Honestly, the CDT looks like a lot more fun!


  1. Briget

    I’m pretty sure the bees are after your sweat! I read a story recently about a beekeeper, and found that they set pans of saltwater at the entrances of the hives – bees drink saltwater, not fresh water. Never knew that before –

    • mcgarveysan

      We had no idea about the sweat or bees liking saltwater! Thanks for the info!

  2. Cheryl c

    You are correct! Do the cdt instead. It looks beautiful!!! Good luck on pct.

  3. VFat

    You’ve got a Nemo Hornet? Are you happy with it, or would you go with something else now that you’ve used it for a while?

    • mcgarveysan

      I have the Hornet Elite. I’m reasonably pleased with it. Easy set up and tear down. The weight is very, very good for a framed tent. It’s very small though… I call it the portable condom. At 6’3” my head and feet touch the walls on each end when I’m in my sleeping bag. Not a big deal at all when it’s dry, but if there’s much moisture outside the sleeping bag acts like a wick and I wake up with a moist sleeping bag. The tent dries super quick during the day so it’s not a big deal at all. The footprint is super small and that opens up lots of possibilities for site selection, which is amazing. Last night I shoehorned into a tiny site off the side of the trail. It was sweet. I also purchased the ground cloth and recommend it. It’s a little wonky to set up, but it works. When I stop for a long lunch I use it to spread out and relax.

      • VFat

        If my right side doesn’t degrade materially beforehand next year I’m going for another walk on the PCT next year. Start the same date (hopefully), but with less weight. I love my BA Copper Spur 2 .but I can knock off almost a pound by going to the Nemo Elite 1.

        Another 1.5 comes off with a new EE sleeping bag, another 1.5 with no stove (only cooked once and had to force myself to do it), another 1 comes off with no Garmin (which means a smaller, lighter charger), and can knock off another 2 at least by dropping non-emergency spares. But then I have to add a Kindle like you use! At least I have less VFat now.

        I’d love to go even lighter with a Plexamid but I’m a no-hassle guy and can’t imagine all the tie-downs. And this time I’ll be listening to music and podcasts instead of trying for the ‘pure’ nature experience. Though (being in HS) Claire won’t be able to come…she was the best part last time.

        With all that I should be able to make it to…the *other* side of Mount Laguna, and see Desert View. After that it will all be gravy. And hopefully I’ll feel less like I’m dying on the afternoon of day 1.

        In any event…write a book. Your prose is engaging, informative and entertaining. The story you two are building is a hoot, and you have the writing skills to deliver.

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