July 13, 2015
A Tree Spring (1220.0) to Fowler Peak Trailhead (1242.9)
22.9 PCT miles today
1287.3 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 4,246 ft, – 5,227 ft
Just yesterday Pickles and I were saying how strange it was that we weren’t seeing any hikers we knew and how we wondered where they all were and how they were doing. Then today every single hiker we saw was a “familiar”, or a person whom we’d hiked with at one point or another. It was fun to catch up with old acquaintances and to see that everyone was still going strong. Our hiker buddies weren’t the only thing that felt familiar today. The further north we go, the more similarities we find to being back in the desert. Today we had to walk off trail twice to get to signed “springs” (instead of just grabbing water that flows across the trail), we saw lizards, beetles, snakes, and even an old favorite, the tarantula hawk wasp, and we noticed plants and trees that we hadn’t seen since entering the Sierras over 500 miles ago. My feet even played along and finally started to act and feel like the feet that I started this hike with. They did great all day, stayed out of the way and didn’t complain, and only felt tired, instead of in pain, when we got to camp this evening.
It was a successful day, made even more enjoyable by our chance encounters with old friends. First we ran into our friend Whatever whom we hadn’t seen since Mt. Whitney, but whom we first met way back on day 3 or 4. We chatted about the weather and injuries for a bit (his back has been acting up) and then hiked on, sure that we’d leapfrog throughout the day. Next, while drying out our tent in the mid morning sun, D.O.G. and Julio (last known as Audrey) walked by. We had leap frogged with these two for about 300 miles right around Kennedy Meadows and the High Sierra, so it was good to see them still going strong. In the afternoon, while filtering water down by a spring, Ciervo walked up. He is a guy we chatted with for a while at Kennedy Meadows but hadn’t seen since. And that was literally every person we saw today. Knowing each person out here made the trail feel that much more comfortable and welcoming. We also saw in the register that our friend Mosey was at Sierra City the same day as us, so we know he’s close, but we haven’t seen him yet. Now if we just run into Dr. Dre, we’ll know the whereabouts of most of our trail buddies.
Everyone has been talking about the transition that we’re making into Northern California. I resisted Ciervo calling it desert-like, because I refuse to hike back into the desert, but he does have a point. We finally had blue skies all day for the first time in at least a week, and the resulting sun and heat just made the change in environment that much more obvious. And yet, as far as the eye can see, all of the rolling hills are still covered in pine trees and our trail is still soft with dead leaves. So as much as this might feel like a return, Pickles and I are convinced that it is something new entirely.
It was a bit hard to hold back today and only do 23 miles. Without injury, we are getting back into our old competitive mindset and we’re tempted to see how far we can make it in a day. I still think it’s best to get in plenty of rest for the feet, but we’ll probably start pushing our mileage soon. Tonight we got into camp at 5, and for the first time in a while, I’ll finally have time to read my book before passing out at around 8. With good weather, old friends, and high mileage, things are looking up and Canada is coming back into focus as our final destination.