After an extremely windy, noisy, but dry night, I woke up at 5:30am to prepare for the final push over Sonora Pass. The wind was so bad last night it shredded Filthy’s tent and I woke up to see both of them cowboy camping on the other side of the trail.
I had done the majority of climbing the night before but there was a lot of snow covering the trail which meant the miles were slow going. All I could think about was trail magic and pancakes in 6 miles down at the highway.
When I got on the other side of the ridge I finally got phone reception for the first time in days and had a message from UB that he’d gone home for some R&R after hurting his back in the last section. I called him straight away to find out what had happened and to see when he’d be heading back to the trail. He was in good spirits, sounding relaxed and happy which made me relieved, and said he’ll meet me when I get to Tahoe on Friday to show me around his former home!
When I finally got down to the highway I was worried they may have already stopped making pancakes, but worse than that there wasn’t any trail magic at all. Apparently the Wolverines had left two days before. My heart sank but I bumped into Blast, Slack and Orbit and she offered me a white chocolate chip cookie that she’d picked up in Bridgeport as a condolence. Blast told me I could get cell reception at the top of the hill across the highway so I headed up there, made coffee, and spent the next three hours updating the blog. The signal wasn’t great so it took a long time to upload all the videos.
It was boiling hot again, and just as I was questioning the end of the heat wave the storm clouds started rolling in. I figured I should pack up and hit the trail before the rain came, and it was a good idea I did. It started hailing but quickly eased into a dull rain. After walking in my rain jacket for about 15 minutes my back started stinging. I don’t know what caused it, but it felt like I’d been stung by a jellyfish. I ripped off all my top layers and wet my whole back with rain drops from my pack cover. The sensation luckily went away after that, so too did the storm, or so I thought.
After walking back into the rain clouds the trail turned into a slushy river which made clambering down the rocky sections extremely slippery. I thought the storm would blow over quickly like the day before, but this one stuck around for at least 3 hours.
Heading towards the 15 mile mark I was starting to run out of steam and started moving extremely slow. I was starving and very much in the need of dinner, but I was trying to reach the next water source and camp site to cook. When I got there a hiker named Jug, who had almost stumbled upon me pooping in the woods, was there setting up camp. I joined him for dinner as he was building a fire and I was relieved to have someone new to chat to. He started the trail on April 13 and has taken more zero days than me, which I hardly thought possible. I was keen to camp near the fire but I pushed on as I need to make 20 miles each day to reach Tahoe before the PO closes on Friday.
Just as I was about to leave three new PCT’ers passed us. I’ve met so many new faces over this last section I’m really struggling with names. About 30 minutes down the trail I needed to take another emergency bathroom break. It may have been some bad water I’ve drunk cause my stomach has been a little temperamental the last couple of days. When I was squatting in the bushes I felt like I could hear people but couldn’t see anyone ahead of me or coming up behind me on the trail. When I continued on I realised that the trail basically switched back on itself and the three hikers that passed me earlier were stopped eating dinner, over looking the bushes where I’d just taken a squat. None of them said anything but the awkward silence said it all. I guess that’s all part of through hiking!
I was determined to make 20 miles even though it was dark and I was struggling to see the trail or any campsites ahead. Thanks to Guthook’s app I found a really nice flat spot just after 9:30pm, with a fire pit and lots of trees to hang my wet clothes on. I set the alarm for 5:30am, ready for another 20+ mile day tomorrow!