Miles: 1043.2 to 1075.3
Sure, 32 miles was suggested but I guess I never thought we’d bother. I figured we’d get to somewhere between 25 and 30, which would put us within 10 miles of the road that would allow us to hitch to South Lake Tahoe, and find a pretty little campsite and stop.
That’s not what happened.
Most of the time, the app we use to navigate and glean information about the trail lists far fewer tentsites than actually exist out here. On the Appalachian Trail, random tentsites are pretty rare because most people congregate around the shelters. Since there aren’t shelters on the PCT, people tend to stop where they are and make a tentsite out of the first flat spot they find. We’ve done that, although we try to find already used spots to lower the impact.
So, I figured we’d stumble across a nice spot not listed on the app and settle in. This time, however, the app was accurate. After we passed a couple of sites above treeline — my least favorite area to camp — there was nothing flat or durable until we’d walked the full 32 miles.
For the first 25 miles, I really enjoyed the day. It was a lot of small ups and downs but nothing terribly exhausting. At this point, my pack is light of food. The trail took us past red cliffs where each layer of sediment looked a different shade.
We got two encounters with trail magic. First, was cans of soda someone had stashed under a fallen log. The second was from “Meadow Mary,” a local massage therapist who left a cooler of cookies and fruit. Both were placed just before and after highway 4. It was great.
Arbitrage is the economic concept of free money. On the trail, I consider arbitrage free calories. Calories you didn’t have to buy or carry any distance.
Yay for trail arbitrage!