PCT:Day 216: The smoke!

Day: 216

Direction: Southbound 

Trail location: 1500

Cumulative miles hiked: 2220

Miles hiked today: 15.7

Elevation: 6708

High/low temp humidity: 86/58/20

Spinning on the turntable: Keane: Cause and Effect

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Wow! It is SMOKEY today. There’s a fire burning to the north of my location called the Dixie fire and there’s a fire to the south of my location called the Tamarack fire. This morning it seems like all the smoke has landed here where I’m camping.

I had high hopes to have a leisurely breakfast today, but the mosquitoes are horrific. I decided to skip breakfast for the moment and break camp. I may have gotten bitten ten times. Crazy. Naturally, I’ve eliminated the mosquito repellent and head bug net due to weight. Sigh.

So I hit the trail pretty quickly and chowed down on a Payday candy bar and a Granola bar as I meandered along. I stopped after a few miles to eat breakfast, but was again swarmed with mosquitos. Maybe I’m not having oatmeal today…

I was mentioning the other day that the landscape here reminded me of Northern Washington. Now that I’ve lost most of the visuals of the surrounding mountains, I can say that it’s very much like hiking in Northern Washington in the rain.


The smokey conditions are certainly giving me a wheezy sound to my breathing today. (Oh, that reminds me. I saw a guy in a broken down car the other day in the middle of a dirt road. I had just climbed a big hill and I was wheezing and gasping, but my sense of obligation kicked in. “Do…..you……need……help…..??? Gasp! Wheeze!” He looked at me like I was crazy. Thankfully he said he didn’t need my help. I didn’t ask again and limped off into the forest before he could change his mind.)

Peter Grubb Hut

I stopped at the Peter Grubb Hut, but it was sealed up tightly. The hut is a respite for cross country ski folks. I saw there was a pit toilet, but I was so very close to actual toilets so I didn’t even check them out.

I met Noelle at the I-80 Freeway interchange. It’s about 1/4th of a mile off the PCT, so it was an easy detour. I had lunch, and then dumped almost all my gear and slack packed another four miles and met up with Noelle again. Honestly, the last two miles was harder than the first ten miles. Holy cow! I’m tired.

Our plan now is to rest for several days and then I’ll return to the trail hopefully rested and ready to bang out more miles. I’m planning to take two complete days off trail. I need to do something about my shoes, look for another hat, maybe replace my gloves, look for a new Sawyer squeeze and maybe see about someone bending my walking stick again. If I’m lucky I’ll find my way to a decent hamburger and a beer…after a long hot shower.

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