Miles: 1127.1 to 1159.7
Mileage: 32.6, plus .75 to car
Today it was Richard’s turn to ride the bike uphill. We got started from the campsite a little later than the day before, but still early enough to finish.
Also, instead of the hour drive that Richard had, my drive north to Interstate 80 was half that. I left my sleeping clothes on and started north listening to the NPR Now station on XM Radio. I do miss consuming news.
At the trailhead, I changed clothes and organized myself. The weather was already warmer and cloudier than the day before at 6:45 a.m. Maybe it’ll rain? I thought. Oh, well. At least I’ll get to try my new rain jacket.
The first four miles from Insterstate 80 to Donner Pass were nicely maintained and graded. I’d had a coffee on the drive up so I was moving without effort, it seemed.
At the pass, I got lost for a minute and lamented, again, on how nicely blazed the A.T. is and how vigilant you have to be on the PCT not to end up miles from where you want.
The climbing started just after the Pass. Up to a ski resort, across the steep runs, down the other side.
The clouds persisted and I started to do some lightning risk management in my head, just in case. The trail was exposed and along a ridge for miles. Where would I go to avoid being the tallest thing out here?
But the rain held off and eventually the sky cleared. I switched gears and pulled out my sun hat and applied sunscreen.
I climbed up a gravely ridge to Tinker Knob and lost the trail in a snow bank. For some reason, these late season snow drifts tend to pile over the trail. I found it lower on the ridge and followed it down into a valley full of running water. I passed a very nice campsite and then climbed out of the valley to my second ski resort of the day. To get to the ridge, it was another snow climb. Over these, the trail gets disregarded and people opt for the path of least resistance. From a Leave No Trace perspective, I don’t mind these detours. The snow will melt and not even the footprints of the hikers will exist.
Just over the other side, I ran into Richard. We were both a little tired from the effort of the hiking and spent less time chatting in order to complete our hikes before dark.
The rest of my day was pleasant. The shoes my mom sent me were working really well and I never really thought about my feet as I hiked. I realize that might change when I try to hike with more weight, but for now, the change is nice.
After a long downhill followed by a long uphill, I was rewarded by a ridge walk for five miles.
The coolest part was startling a coyote who darted across the trail, grabbed the marmot it had stashed and waited a little ways down the ridge for me to pass. You know while hiking that the wildlife can see you and watch you. But it’s rare to get to see them watch you.
After the ridge it was one more downhill, uphill set then down to the bike. I made it there by 6:30.
The ride down was nice in terms of lack of effort needed to move but I got cold and my butt really hurt from the day before.
I rode to a small cafe where we agreed to meet for dinner. Grilled cheese, two soups, a huge kale salad and ice cream sundaes.