Miles: 941.7 to 963.3
We’d heard the mosquitoes could be bad north of Tuolumne. But we hear lots of things on the PCT, so we bought a small bottle of deet and didn’t think too much about it.
Oh, boy! The mosquitoes are bad north of Tuolumne. It’s not a joke.
It all happened gradually. A few of them buzzing around my head at breaks, no big deal. When we stopped about 12 miles into the day to go to the bathroom, we noticed them.
They were everywhere and aggressive. They were fighting for any skin they could find. Face, neck, ears, up the nose, shoulders, arms, legs, hands.
I tried to ignore them. I wanted to avoid using deet if I could. I’d managed to keep from using any bug repellant on the AT and on my National Outdoor Leadership School course in the Yukon. But I couldn’t last out here. It was deet or have my vision blocked by the swarms.
The terrain north of Tuolumne was challenging. Like the southern Sierras, it’s a lot of up and down. Unlike the southern Sierras, the elevation gain and loss is less but it’s done more frequently.
Before we’d spend three or four hours hiking uphill, then a similar amount of time hiking down. And that was really all we’d have time for in one day.
North of Tuolumne Falls however, the terrain is more akin to the AT in that it’s pretty much up or down. You gain or lose 500 or 1,000 feet every few miles all day.
The landscape is beautiful, of course. And our weather has been blue skies and surprisingly warm.
Other than the mosquitoes, the new challenge has been fords. All of a sudden we’re fording three or four creeks a day. It’s been a huge change for us.
It’s interesting and can feel refreshing at the heat of the day (we predict the water temperature is in the high 30s). But it can take time because I refuse to wear my hiking shoes through the water. I hate wet feet. Some hikers trunge through but sometimes just standing next to the stream, my toes start to ache.
So off come the shoes, socks, gaiters and tights, if I’m still wearing them from the morning.
Today we had four fords. None have been over my knees and the currents haven’t been too strong yet. Although I still cross with my hip belt unfastened. Just in case I get swept off my feet, the pack will not be able to hold me down.
Because of our late start leaving the lovely wood heat of the tent cabin, we hiked until 7:30 and still didn’t make our mileage goal.
We ate dinner amid the buzz of mosquitoes and were very thankful for a tent with a full screen liner once we ducked inside our mosquito refuge.
It was a warm night and we slept through the alarm.