June 29, 2015
Sonora Pass (1018.4) to Tentsite near Wolf Creek (1041.1)
22.7 PCT miles today
1085.6 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 4,745 ft, – 5,656 ft
Another spectacular day on the PCT. The sky was overcast again today, making for nice cool temps, but it never actually rained. Ideal hiking weather really. We didn’t get started until 9am today since we first had to sort out our ration with Mama Bear, so the day felt a bit long right off the bat. We ran into some more hikers whom we had never met before and it reminded us yet again of how interesting the human situation is out here on the trail.
There is a lot of talk on the PCT about “bubbles”. People are always asking where the largest bubble of hikers is, wondering if they are currently in a bubble, or trying their best to either stay in a bubble or lose a bubble. Pickles and I have seen a lot of it because our pace is a bit quicker than most and we have spent the last few weeks meeting tons of new hikers, all of whom know each other, ask constantly about one another, and likely make up a bubble, and then never seeing them again. We are in a unique situation because after our 3 and a half days off in Tahoe, we will most likely run into a lot of these same hikers, and move through the same bubbles, all over again.
The thing that we’ve noticed though is how clique-like many of these “bubbles” have become. A lot of these hikers met each other very early on in their adventure, and have now hiked with one another for over 1,000 miles. Many people who started out as solo hikers haven’t actually hiked or camped on their own now for weeks. Once a group of hikers band together, they’ll hike, camp, re-ration, and zero together. It is probably very convenient, especially because they can share hotel rooms, but we sometimes wonder whether it is actually what they want, or if it is just too hard to strike off on your own after forming such tight bonds.
For Pickles and I, because we haven’t known these hikers from the start, we don’t feel particularly connected to them, and for that reason we tend to stick with casual greetings and then move on to do our own thing. For better or for worse, we don’t have a bubble. Instead, we spend our days bursting through other bubbles, learning a bit about the group dynamics and hiking styles of each one, and then continuing on with our day’s routine.
There are still a few hikers whom we love seeing when it happens, and whom we feel especially invested in as far as their success on the PCT goes. These are people we met in the desert and with whom we feel a special bond. There is a part of us that hopes to make more of these relationships once we get back on trail after Tahoe and fall into a more routine number of daily miles. For now though, we are pretty single-minded and determined. Only 3 more days of hiking until we get to Echo Lake and leave the trail for our first “summer vacation” and a fun weekend with our own “bubble” of friends back home.