May 22, 2015
Bridge over Deep Creek (310.3) to Picnic tables past Hwy 138 (329.7)
19.4 PCT miles today
342.8 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 3,156 ft, – 2,901 ft
Today was a very challenging day, but not really because of the hiking. That was in the background, with all its accompanying aches and pains, but while the day doled out its various trials, 20 miles just sort of creeped by. Instead, our main challenges were early-morning delays and the changing weather.
It was cold when our 5:45 alarm went off this morning, and it was a slow process of getting out of our bags and on the trail. We finally got moving just before 8, but when we got near a large road a couple miles in and found we had 4G for the first time in a couple days, we sat down to take care of a few chores.
Nothing is more frustrating on-trail than watching the time slip away while you deal with some unforeseen technological difficulty. Ideally we wouldn’t be plugged in at all out here, but that’s just not realistic. There are just some things that have to be taken care of online or over the phone. We ordered Pickles a new sleeping bag online while in Big Bear but it turned out that the order never went through, so this morning we spent about an hour waiting on hold and dealing with non-mobile friendly websites to remedy the error.
By the time we got moving again we were cold and cranky. Our original plan of 25 more miles was looking futile and there were menacing clouds in the direction we were walking that another hiker mentioned were supposed to bring rain by early afternoon. The race against the clock was on.
By the time the first raindrops fell on our heads, we may have exchanged a few R-rated words. We cursed the skies which always, without fail, seem to send us rain (bike tour, South America, now Southern California). We cursed the wind, technology, the desert, and even the PCT. And then, about 5 minutes later, the rain stopped just as suddenly as it began and the skies began to clear. We know that the rest of California is incredibly grateful for this especially wet spring, but when that sun came out, Pickles and I couldn’t have been more pleased.
By this afternoon, things started to look up. We decided to only hike 20 miles today due to our delayed start, and also because there were more, darker clouds in the distance by the time we stopped to camp and we didn’t want to test our luck. We also found the perfect campsite right here along the trail and we weren’t going to skip out on this find. Just like on bike tour, tonight we are camped in what appears to be a sort of road-side rest-area picnic site. We have water, bathrooms, picnic tables…even a tub for doing our laundry! And best of all, for all our complaining about technology, tonight is our first night on trail with 4G and we can’t wait to indulge in a movie along with dinner.
As it turns out, our oh-so-perfect campsite is actually a private group site, which was in fact rented out tonight by a large church men’s retreat. Not long after I finished writing this blog, a group of men came around with a park ranger and we were told that we would definitely have to move. We had our whole tent setup and had already eaten dinner, but the nice men who’s site we were in offered to drive us back a mile to the hiker/biker site in the campground. Since they had a truck, we just took the poles out of our tent, wrapped it up with everything inside and tossed it in the back of the truck. Before we knew it we were set back up in the proper place (along with a bunch of other hikers), and finally hunkered down for our long-awaited movie. It could have been a lot worse had we been made to pack everything back up and do some more hiking. Thank goodness for nice people…now if the campground would just put a sign up so hikers knew the site was off limits.