0 In California (USA)/ Pacific Crest Trail

PCT 2018 Days 95-104

Day 95

Miles: 5.6 out of Quincy

Health: Happy & healthy

Currently reading: No reading today but still on In Cold Blood

We got up and had breakfast at the hotel. I talked to my mum briefly on the phone and then we made a plan for the day. We went to resupply at a natural foods store which was awesome and had everything a veggie could ever want. We also stopped by the Dollar Store and Safeway to round out our food needs.

Quincy is really cute and the people are super hiker friendly.

After we checked out we went to lunch at a cafe in town and I got some bomb as nachos. We decided to pack out Subway sandwiches for dinner. We went out to hitch back to the trailhead but after about thirty minutes we, plus hiker Early, got the only Uber in town.

Once back at the trail we hike about five miles to a huge campsite and sat down to eat out dinner. While sitting there we heard a branch break and I saw an animal move through the trees. It suddenly came out in the other side of our campsite and we saw that it was a coyote. I finally got a cool animal on video!

We ate and chatted about poop and other things concerning hikers like going to the bathroom at night and mosquitoes. We tuned into Hiker TV and watched a bunch of ants carrying a dead bee. Riveting stuff. Tomorrow is going to be a very long and full day.

Day 96

Miles: 15.7

Health: Pretty good

Currently reading: No reading today but still on In Cold Blood

We left camp and had a 13 mile decent. We went fairly quickly as we were trying to get down to Belden around lunch time. We have met so many new faces including Wipeout, Early, Lost Boy and others.

We found the most magical little grotto/spring area on the way down to Belden. It was shaded and cool and felt very much like an entrance to a magical land.

Belden was very unimpressive and we were so glad that we chose to nero in Quincy. The store was super expensive and had awful choices. We got burgers for lunch which were pretty good.

It was so hot today that we waited out the heat as much as we could. We have a big 13 mile ascent to tackle and the heat is no joke. We decided to push in just a couple of miles and do it tomorrow in the early morning.

We camped at Chip Creek and had a lovely little wash in the creek and dinner in a set of stone chairs. We’ve heard there are lots of mountain lions in the area, I want to see one so badly! So far no lions, only a couple of snakes and lots of poison oak.

Day 97

Miles: 18

Health: Sore but breathing.

Currently reading: In Cold Blood

Today was an early start. After not sleeping well, my alarm went off at 4am and we rolled out of camp at five. We wanted to get a head start on the 12 mile uphill battle we had today.

We took it slow and stopped a few times on the way up. It was mostly covered by trees which was great but the humidity still penetrates through the leaves and branches. I was drenched. I also dropped my buff at one of the creeks and had to climb down into a gorge. I stepped in mud and jammed my finger. Good times.

We passed the 1300 mile marker which means we are 25 miles from the half way point. That’ll be tomorrow.

We took a long break, three hours, at the top. I took a nap. Then we decided to go almost seven more miles and that’s when my body finally caught up to me. I got so tired! We considered stopping at an earlier water source for the night but an annoying group of hikers that were already obnoxiously loud were set up already. Moving along. The campsite we ended up at was nice but overrun with flies. Better than mozzies, I guess. Tomorrow will be long but has some highlights to look forward to.

Day 98

Miles: 20.8

Health: Great, actually.

Currently reading: My Lucky Life

Today was a great day! The trail was rather tame and enjoyable. We had to hike down to a water source and took a nice break.

It was then time to hike up to Butt Mountain which held special significance for me. Five years ago, when I was working at Disneyland, my favorite location to work was the Challenge Trail. The Challenge Trail is an area based on Northern California, where I presently find myself. In the area there was a treehouse with a map of NorCal. On the map was Butt Mountain. Each time I was there I would go into the treehouse, look at the map, and find Butt Mountain. I did it so much that I actually instagramed a picture. I always told myself that someday I’d go and find this elusive and magical place. The PCT wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye at this point. Fast forward five years, and I discovered that the PCT goes right through Butt Mountain and my long lost dream was accomplished today!

When I made it to the trail junction a deer was just nomming on a snack of some kind and had zero qualms about me being there. I got a deer selfie and had a little fan freak out with her. I love deer. I will never get tired of seeing them and this was especially special.

We heard a horror story about last night and the campsite that we ALMOST ended up staying at. (We pushed on two more miles.) A few campers heard a commotion in the middle of the night and then found a half eaten deer the next morning. Clearly a mountain lion had been very close to camp.

Next, it was on to the official halfway point on the PCT! The site is marked by a very unassuming pillar on the side of the trail. It’s a surreal moment to take a step and suddenly be closer to Canada than to Mexico. We signed the register, tools photos, and then danced, of course. We also ran back into Tornado, who we thought was long ahead of us.

We had four more miles to go until camp and I was feeling great! Physically, I think I’m getting back in my stride since the Sierras. The campsite wasn’t the greatest and a loud group came into camp and talked until 11pm. I want to punch some faces.

Day 99

Miles: 3.3 into Chester

Health: Good

Currently reading: My Lucky Life

We got up and I had to face the loudmouths. This trail has made me so vengeful, man.

We had a short hike to the road to hitch into town. We are close to Lassen National Park now and the rocks are looking very volcanic.

We got a hitch with a man and his two loving doggos. We got breakfast at Cravings and I had possibly the best french toast of my life. Next, we went and did laundry. We ran back into that annoying group. I called my family who is almost all together and got to see my nibblings. That always brightens my day and hurts my heart all at once.

Then it was time to resupply. We went to The Holiday Market and Dollar General and I found this to be, by far, my worst result yet on trail. They had the worst choices and seemed to be out of almost everything. I would not recommend Chester to future thruhikers.

We went into town because Hen’s Aunt and Uncle generously booked us a room at a bed and breakfast they had stayed at last year. Thank you!!

We got a hitch to the B&B and checked in. We rested, took showers, and had dinner. The night was chill and we were so grateful.

Day 100

Miles: 15ish to the outskirts of Lassen National Park

Health: Loverly

Currently reading: My Lucky Life & 2nd Timothy

Whoa. Day 100. When did that happen?

We awoke at the B&B and had the “Breakfast” part of the “B”. It was delicious. We then left around 9:30 and started to walk back to the trail. A super kind woman pulled over and gave us a ride to the trailhead.

We only had to go about 15 miles because we can’t camp inside Lassen National Park without a bear can. We will do the entire PCT portion inside the park tomorrow.

We took it slow today and had a lot of breaks. We were all pretty blah and didn’t want to push it. Hen took a nasty fall but seems to be ok. We had just been talking about how all the embarrassing moments on trail so far had happened to me, but now she can claim this.

We camped and had dinner which was joined by tons of mosquitoes and biting flies. Today was a fairly uneventful day but nice regardless. Tomorrow is gonna be long and brutal but interesting.

Day 101

Miles: 23.4

Health: Sore but alive

Currently reading: My Lucky Life

Today was long. Long, but interesting.

We woke up and got moving by around 7am. We immediately entered Lassen Volcanic National Park. Our first stop was Terminal Geyser, a geothermal vent that spews hot gas that smells like butt. The walk to and from wasn’t fun but the geyser itself was interesting.

We then went to the boiling spring lake which you couldn’t get close enough to to see much but you could hear it bubbling.

The trail was very steep for the first part of the day. We have found that, oddly enough, the trails in National Parks seem to be the worst planned out and maintained. The rest of the PCT is usually much better.

I had a couple of lovely deer sightings but we saw no bears, although they are supposedly very active in Lassen. One bear has taught her cubs to grab hiker’s backpacks.

We walked through and eery and beautiful burned section of forest. The ground was covered in wildflowers. The juxtaposition of death and life was astonishing. We also had rain clouds and heard thunder nearby but never got rained on. The cool down from the clouds blocking the sun was super refreshing. We ran into Redback whom we hadn’t seen since mile 500 and we also met Mermaid from Germany. There’s also an annoying hiker who won’t stop singing. I want to punch him in the face. But I won’t. Yet.

We camped by Hat Creek and soaked our feet for a while. I considered cowboy camping but then the mosquitoes came out. Dang it.

Day 102

Miles: 15.9

Health: It’s all good, man.

Currently reading: My Lucky Life

Today turned out much differently than I had imagined. We originally planned to do another 24 mile day, but because of a waterless stretch, things changed.

We got up and headed to Old Station to pick up some packages. We had called ahead and gotten them sent to the store rather than the post office which didn’t open until 11am. The store opened at 9am and we got our boxes right away. I had gotten my other air mattress sent to me, although my old one seems to be doing alright now. We also picked up our Ursak bags.

Then we walked another four miles and got second breakfast at JJ’s Cafe. I got oatmeal and pancakes and hash browns and a biscuit. Yum.

We then headed out to conquer Hat Creek Rim, a notoriously hot and waterless stretch of about 20-30 miles. It was so hot. And so waterless. We walked up to a parking lot and lookout and just as I thought I might end up running out of water and pass out I saw Hen and Spirit Kick talking to some firefighters who handed me a grape Gatoraid. Score! Then we met a couple who had done the trail last year and they gave us soda and m&ms. Double score! We felt energetic and pumped just as the clouds rolled in and we had a much easier time of it the rest of the way.

There are tons and tons of yellow lady bugs in this area.

We camped at Lost Creek, a creek at the bottom of a canyon. Kick and I decided we wanted cold water so we made the trek down. It was fairly steep and we met a snake down by the stream but it was worth it for a cold drink of water.

The sunset was gorgeous and we seem to be surrounded by some weird sounding animals.

Day 103

Miles: 21.3

Health: Dehydrated and exhausted

Currently reading: Bossypants

We got up at our usual time and realized that 7am must be super late for hikers because we’re always the last ones out of camp.

We walked two miles and came to some trail magic at mile 1387. There were oranges, water, and Pringles.

We walked further on and just as it really started to heat up we came upon Coppertone, a trail angel we had met at Lake Tahoe. He is awesome and make floats for everyone. We killed time there before venturing on into a 13+ mile dry stretch.

I brought two liters which in the past has been enough, but not today. I ran out of water around 4 miles until the next water and I swear I have never been so thirsty in my life. I felt a bit lightheaded and the heat was really getting to me. I’ve also been dealing with this weird pain in my side recently, so that wasn’t helping either.

I finally made it to the water and rehydrated as best as I could. We decided to camp there and had dinner. There were so many flies around I felt like I was either a corpse or a pile of poop. I’m sleeping without my fly for the first time since week one on trail because it is so warm. We’ll see how this goes.

Day 104

Miles: 4ish into Burney

Health: Just loverly

Currently reading: Bossypants & 2nd Timothy

We left camp and headed the short few miles that would take us into town. We walked by Crystal Lake (no psycho murderer in sight) which was home to ducks, geese, and pelicans. Yes, pelicans. Random. We stopped by the Burney Ranch to try and get a ride but to no avail. Even the dog didn’t want me to pet it, not my favorite place.

We went down to the highway and hitched in. We got a ride from a lady who used to own a store that many PCT hikers frequented, including Cheryl Strayed of “Wild” fame. She’s even mentioned in the book.

Once in town we got breakfast, resupplied, and went to the post office. We ended up staying at a local church in the town that allows PCT hikers to sleep in their gymnasium for free. I instantly felt at home being back in a church, I’ve really missed my church, and felt the Holy Spirit all over the place. What a great ministry this place has and what an honour it was to be on the receiving end of a ministry.

We showered and Hen made her “slutty brownies” (brownies, oreos, and cookie dough) for which I quickly remained “Mary Magdalene brownies” since we’re in a church.

I called my family and had a good talk with them. I’m truly happy right at this moment and couldn’t be more thankful to be right where I am right now.

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