Day 31: mile 488.2 – mile 508.1

Elevation gain: 3,673 ft

Elevation loss: 3,104 ft

The one thing I have always made very clear to Link is that I really have no desire to ever Cowboy camp (sleep outside without a tent). I know there’s no way I could sleep wondering if bugs/animals were crawling all over me! Well, desperate times call for desperate measures! We found a lovely little tent site that we thought was pretty sheltered from the wind, until the wind decided to pick it up a notch. Because we got to camp a little late yesterday after the big miles, plus needing to spend about 20 mins getting the nasty tick out of Link, we didn’t actually go to sleep until 9pm! As I’ve said before, this tent is SUPER loud if there’s an excess of wind, which there was. So neither of us could sleep and were getting pretty discouraged by midnight. Then I had an idea…our tent is double walled, so what if we took off the loud tarp part and just left the zippered mesh on us? We would have to have the mesh just lay on top of us but at this point we were willing to try anything. So Link removed the tarp and it was quiet! When a big gust would come up, it would raise the mattress up a bit and blow the mesh over our faces, but with my beanie over my eyes it wasn’t too bad. By that point we were so tired that we were able to sleep until the alarm went off at 6am. I know that Cowboy camping is technically when you sleep under the stars with absolutely nothing over you, but for me, that’s as close as I’m gonna get! Let’s call it “modified cowboy camping” 😁

Our first stop was 6 miles into the day for water. But at 5.5 we had to make a decision…did we think this little stream was still running on the PCT (on the app, hikers said that it was flowing on 4/14, but that was a while ago). Either take our chances there, or there was a different trail we could hop on that took us all the way to the valley floor where there was a reliable stream but it would add mileage and elevation to the day. Choices, choices…we feel like we haven’t made the correct choices lately that would make our lives easier, so we were at a cross roads. We decided to stay on the PCT and take our chances and…IT PAID OFF! Beautiful, clear and lovely tasting water from the cutest little stream!

It was crazy that 95% of the day was all in shaded, lush landscape…it was beautiful, cool and I didn’t even sweat for that 95%!

Does anyone know what tree this is? The red is the leaves, with little dangling red things too…gorgeous!

Plus…the poppies are going CRAZY on all the hills around us! We had been seeing them from afar for a while but we finally got close enough for some good shots. It literally looks like someone dumped Cheetos powder on the hills!

So, of course, the 95% in the lush shade was lovely rolling hills the entire time…no big climbs. You know what I’m about to say…the 5% was at 1:30 in the afternoon, the biggest climb of the day, and completely exposed. Ugh! But we did pass FIVE HUNDRED MILES during that time…whoopee!!

One of the water sources today was a cistern which collects rain water and then dumps it into a big tank through a pipe. But it also takes everything else off the roof with it down the pipe into the tank…debris, bugs, you name it. But it was clear, cool, and tasted great after filtering! We are just happy it was there and full!

After the cistern, we only had 6 more miles to the tent site we had our eye on and made it there by 5pm. There are 3 other PCT hikers we met at KOA (Zen, Raven and Turtle) at the site as well as 2 dads and their sons just out for the night. Let’s all cross fingers hard for NO wind!!

Tonight’s dinner was made up a little on the fly because we had to throw out the chicken that we had already rehydrated on the day we got the hotel room. It’s called Glacier Pasta with protein pasta, spices, olive oil packet, bacon, Parmesan and chicken. However we couldn’t find any packaged chicken in Walmart so we bought jalapeño tuna packets instead. You might think this sounds like a weird combo…we did too, but it was amazing! Love the spicy kick! On a side note: somehow my chapstick fell out of my pocket the day before yesterday and I am religious about applying it multiple times a day because my lips get burned in an instant. I was so bummed and we are hoping I’ll be able to find more in this little town we go into tomorrow. BUT…Bri was walking back from getting water at camp (.2 miles straight down and back up, btw!) and he found an awesome Burts Bees one, and the seal was still on it! Hadn’t even been opened! What are the odds of that, really?? So Link is right again…the trail provides. So weird!

Link and his logs, I tell ya!

Thanks again, everyone, for all your amazing comments. Link and I appreciate them more than you know! Double Down