I had wished I could make it to South Lake Tahoe for the 4th of July, but instead I am eating tuna casserole for dinner at a picnic table in front of the closed visitor centre on Hwy 88. Yogi’s notes say there are lots of mosquitos past this point so I figured it would be better to eat here and hike till dark again. I have to say I’m feeling a bit anxious being this close to civilisation, especially as it’s getting dark and I’m feeling very much on my own.
I did experience my own version of trail magic though when I was less than a mile from Carson Pass and I bumped into Francoise and Thomas who had been bird watching down by the lake. I walked with them back to their car chatting about the PCT and Vancouver Island where Francoise currently lives. They asked if I had enough food and despite me saying yes, Thomas brought out an entire watermelon from his car which he divided up. It was my first fresh fruit in almost 10 days and tasted spectacular!
Leading up to this encounter I was up on a ridge where I bumped into some day hikers and the girl who is riding her horse along the entire PCT. I was amazed at the organisation that goes around doing such a thing. Her brother meets her at each road crossing with the horse trailer, food etc. She said the desert section was hard with such little water but the snow crossings and steep sections in the Sierras were also challenging. I was honestly blown away.
I had phone signal on the ridge and managed to post another blog entry before the Andrews caught up to me from out of nowhere. They went into Bridgeport so I must have passed them at Sonora Pass. It was awesome to see such familiar faces again and fun to catch up on how their hike has been. As it was the 4th of July they had three packets of Pop Rocks which were meant to simulate fireworks in your mouth when you eat them. I took a video but we were all a little disappointed at the effect (obviously designed for kids aged under 30).
Going back to the start of the day, I woke up at 4:50am and broke camp just before 5:45am. I didn’t feel as tired as I had expected and polished off the first few miles easily until I reached the first water source. I planned to go to the following creek for breakfast but just before dipping back into the valley I got mobbed by mosquitos and found salvation in the most gorgeous group of rocks overlooking the entire valley. There was a breeze and a hiker heading south said the mosquitos down the trail were ‘thick’, so I opted to remain on my beautiful rock ledge.
I was determined to eat more today to avoid the slump I fell into yesterday afternoon. I had my usual oats, granola and coffee and felt really good when I hit the trail again at 9:30am. There was a waterless stretch for 8 miles coming up so I planned to stop and have an early lunch at the last source and bumped into Spark who had the exact same intentions. I lent him some of my Pristine drops to treat the water as there were many floaters and a large frog sitting just above the spot where we collected the water from.
I had two burritos with tortillas and dehydrated beans that UB had left over in Mammoth Lakes. I even had mild salsa to put on them so they tasted like ‘real’ food! Carrot caught up to us while we were eating and offered me some chocolate and flattened banana which was delicious. I let lunch settle and then headed off for the 12 miles to Carson Pass, mainly uphill. I had so much more energy than yesterday so food is really the key and something I need to pay closer attention to, especially lunches.
It wasn’t long after that I stopped at the top of the ridge to blog. After bumping into the Andrews we headed to the next water source, but I lost them soon afterwards as they went off to a lake to make dinner and I carried on to Hwy 88. I managed to cook, eat and clean my teeth just before dark and found the perfect place to camp just up the trail. I can hear the cars speeding by pretty loudly but I feel comfortable where I am now, and just had enough light to change and set up camp. I’m going to get up super early tomorrow and push to do 15 miles by about 1pm. Goodnight from mile 1078!