PCT:Day 212: Trail magic

Day: 212

Direction: Southbound

Trail location: 1446

Cumulative miles hiked: 2165

Miles hiked today: 12.35

Elevation: 6557

High/low temp humidity: 89/61/20

Spinning on the turntable: Richard K. Morgan: Altered Carbon

Feeling rebellious this morning I opted to drink water straight from the spring and bypass my water filter. It was pretty dang good!

I bumped into a Swiss couple this morning that were working their way off the trail to hitch up to Old Station and bypass the fire section. I was surprised to see them and told them so! They explained that they had traveled from Switzerland to Mexico and done a quarantine in Mexico, and then traveled from Mexico to the US, and quarantined in the US for two weeks. That’s some serious dedication to backpacking the PCT. They looked disgustingly in shape!

I may have only passed five hikers today that were NBTH. It really does seem like folks are getting off the trail to avoid the upcoming fire section. Last week, or maybe the week before, I was passing about twenty hikers a day. I’m not entirely sure if its’ all fire related or if it was a hiker bubble.

I am surprised at how many older males are thru-hiking. “Older” is obviously a subjective term, but I’m speaking in terms of those that are 65+. I’d love to see a breakdown of the ages of hikers this year versus other years. It may be that I’m just heading against the traffic and I’m seeing what is a normal age distribution. Yet, still, it makes me wonder. Everyone that I’ve spoken with is attempting a thru-hike. Everyone is laser focused on Canada.

Personally, even in my mid-50’s, I think I’m pushing the envelope for the thru-hiking age. Risk versus reward, if you will. I think the risk of injury increases dramatically with age when trying to bang out a thru-hike. It might be different if I lived a full time life of backpacking and outdoor adventure, but I don’t.

I spoke with one chap this morning and I’d guess he was in his early to mid 70’s. Mind you, he’s out here trying for a thru-hike, and that’s freaking amazing. Yet I wonder how he’s really feeling. What does his blog say? He kept telling me to stand closer to him because he didn’t have his hearing aids in and couldn’t hear me. When we spoke it was around 8:45 and he was in the process of preparing his breakfast.

The landscape is reminding me very much of the northern cascades. Sharp mountain peaks and sharp, loose rocks on the trials. I call these rocks ankle poppers. One wrong step and you’re breaking an ankle.

So many lakes!

I managed to bite it this afternoon, but in very slow motion. Not sure what happened, but I found myself doing a very slow forward/side somersault. No harm, no foul, I suppose. I sure felt like a dumb ass sitting on the trail though!

Sweet huh!

I meandered into a camp ground this afternoon and found myself with a slice of ice cold cantaloupe and an icy cold beer in short order! It’s good to bump into others who want to help hikers! The cantaloupe couple just sold their fifth wheel and just purchased a truck camper. We chatted about PCT hiking and campers briefly and then I excused myself a to find a camp site.

Another camper was kind enough to offer me the site adjacent to his site for free. He had friends that hadn’t shown up, so the site was empty. I gratefully dropped my backpack and sat under a tree. Very shortly, he came back to ask if I’d like a beer. Why yes! We chatted about mountain biking and hiking while the beer hit me a like a ton of bricks. It was quite nice to just chat with folks and not worry about trying to hit thru-hiker miles.

I was excited that the campground had a pit toilet, unit I sat on the throne. Good Lord! It was an amazing case of cross ventilation. The air was whooshing “up” from the pit and “out” over my head. I tried leaning back to get out of the stench but I just couldn’t make it work. I gave up and headed for the woods.

I enjoy almost all of the varieties of PCT trail signs. Bigger is better. It’s interesting traveling from one section to another section and seeing how the local flavor can change. I like the big sign, but the little signs work too. What I found that I don’t like is sections where the PCT emblem has been burned/etched into 4/4 posts. I saw this, or rather I didn’t see, the other morning when I was hiking in the dark. I highly prefer the big and bold signs.

I wrapped up my day with rice, a BBQ chicken packet (I thought it was tuna when I bought it!) and a packet of olive oil. It was a good combo. I drifted off to sleep with the sounds of music and laughter from my next door neighbors.


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