This morning there was one other hiker at breakfast called 5-Star, who also made the dinner last night. We sat outside in the sun and enjoyed oversized portions of oatmeal and fresh fruit followed by french toast with sausage. Both our plates were spotless when they came to clear them, and I couldn’t help but notice how much food was left on the plates of our neighbouring table. If there were other hikers around and no one was looking, those plates would have been spotless too!
After breakfast I put on a load of laundry, started charging my electronics, and enquired about my mail. Francine took me upstairs to look for my packages, which was a good thing as it was like searching for gifts under the Christmas tree, ‘here’s one, oh and another one, oh and one more!’
Although I was overwhelmed with the amount of goodies I’d received, they couldn’t have come at a better time! When I opened the resupply box I’d sent myself, I realised it only had a few leftovers that I had forwarded on from Big Bear City. Not only that, there wasn’t a store at Drakesbad to purchase any additional food, so if I didn’t receive all the additional supplies, I would have found myself in a bit of a pickle!
A few hikers arrived in dribs and drabs, and I was able I share some of my goodies around, as did a girl called Cinco, who had a mountain of home made brownies and cookies to give away. I had considered having the lunch at Drakesbad, but cancelled the reservation after stuffing myself full of treats! In the midst of sorting through my food I turned around to see Fuller’s son Samuel, and before I could ask about his dad, Fuller appeared! I shrieked with delight, and ran over to give him a huge half way hug, as we’d both hoped to share the moment together with another shot of Crown Royal, but it wasn’t to be. I was stunned to see both of them, and immediately started catching up on all the events which had taken place since we last saw each other before Belden.
Not long after that, Otter pulled in, and I was equally shocked to see him, expecting he was miles ahead! We all sat around munching on chocolate coated coffee beans, brownies and breakfast burritos like a group of old friends who were reuniting after a long time. Even Bill, a hiker who barely said a word the first few times we met was in good form. Between our packs, food supplies, hiking poles and empty boxes, we’d taken over the whole outdoor seating area. Maybe this is why they’re no longer hiker friendly! 🙂
It was late in the afternoon when I finally got my things in order and was finally ready to squash them all back into my pack. The whole gang had already left by this stage, and while I was sitting on my lonesome the chef came outside and offered me a piece of pecan pie. Although I was about to burst I couldn’t turn it down, and as I indulged in yet more food, two brothers by the names of Kevin and Kenny came by. It wasn’t long until they established I was hiking the PCT, and immediately I could see their minds ticking over with approximately half a billion questions. We had an awesome chat, not just about the trail, but more what hiking it and being one with nature is really all about. They had recently bought a lodge in the area, which has been their dream for the past 30 years, so they’d come to Drakesbad just to check it out.
Over an hour later just after 5pm I realised I needed to head back home to the trail and make a few miles before dark. When I lifted my pack I was shocked at how heavy it was! Otter had already laughed at me when he saw how much food I was taking for 7 days, but now I realised just how much I must have squeezed in there. It was ok leaving Drakesbad for the first mile, but when the trail started to climb I was huffing and puffing the whole way up. It felt as heavy as when I left Mammoth with 10 days of food and a bear can. When I arrived at this campsite next to the river I heaved the pack down to the ground, set up my tent, laid out my food, and started eating anything I could still stomach. I’m not sure what’s adding all the weight, but at least I’ll be feasting for the next few days to knock off a few unwanted pounds!
Despite my efforts, the next morning I experienced the same pack weight issue. I managed to take the wrong trail for half a mile straight off, then after backtracking and finally stepping onto the PCT, I think my brain added another few pounds to my pack and I simply couldn’t move forward.
After my little tantrum I continued on with a full belly and greater strength. My next water source was Lower Twin Lake where I sat for a long time enjoying the eerie silence of nature and the beautiful scenery. If I wasn’t on my way to Canada I would have stayed in that exact spot for a couple of weeks. It felt like I was a million miles away from anywhere, without another soul in site. Absolute solitude (which is actually harder to find day to day on the trail than you would think!)
The next section of the trail was burnt out for miles but incredibly flat, so without a shady spot to rest I pushed on for another 12 miles to Hat Creek where I exploded my pack and rested in the shade.
It was another 8 miles from the creek to the last water source before the 30 mile stretch at Subway Cave. I ended up cowboy camping right next to the cave as the campsite seemed busy and I figured I probably wasn’t meant to camp in either location. I waited until dark to get comfortable except the moon was so bright I basically slept in a huge spotlight. Not so stealthy after all! I had the alarm set for 3:45am to get an early start in the morning before the sun!