Day 57: 3.3 miles to PCT, mile 895.7 – 912.4
Elevation: ascent 2,743 ft, descent 3,767 ft
Last night we definitely noticed the improvement with our down quilt. After finally washing it after several years of use it regained a lot of its loft, and this added warmth to our sleep. Double Down only needed one down jacket last night and even had to unzip that as she got warm in the middle of the night. It’s so wonderful to be warm in the woods at night.
We were awake at 6:00 and had packed up by 7. It was hard to leave our friends, as the laughter and great conversation from the night before continued. So Double Down and I enjoyed our coffee with this great group before hitting the trail at 8:00. It took us a little more than an hour before we reached the PCT. It felt good being back on the trail and heading north again.
Today’s trail had us mainly looking down into the Cascade Valley as we headed for Reds Meadow. We are noticing that being in more of a popular wilderness the trails are maintained a little better and there were more bridges to use for crossing creeks (no wet feet today 😁). We also came across the 900 mile mark on the trail.
We had heard Reds Meadow had opened the store and cafe only 3 days ago. So we figured it would be a great side trip for some burgers and cold drinks. Right before we got to the Reds Meadow Trail we found ourselves walking through a very large section of trees that had obviously been burned by a fire years ago. Sad to think of what this area could have looked like!
We reached Reds Meadow at 2:00 and were ecstatic to see that it was open. So both Double Down and I ordered a double cheeseburger from the cafe and then got some snacks from the store. With hiker hunger in full affect I ended up having my double cheeseburger, cup of potato salad, cup of pasta salad, Fritos, a root beer and an ice cream sandwich. On top of that we actually had cell service so we were able to check emails and do some blog updates. Right after eating lunch we were joined by another PCT hiker, Austin. He doesn’t have a trail name yet partly because he has been hiking solo most of the time. He was talking of heading to the same area to camp that we were, so we might see him later today.
After lunch we headed down to the Devil’s Post Pile. We have seen this area from a far but thought this would be a great time to see it up close. Amazingly we got there and we were the only two people around. Normally this spot would be super crowded with tourists but with the closure of the road to get here we were blessed with empty trails. If you have never seen this, the formations made from volcanic rock are spectacular.
We then got to a trail junction that has PCT hikers make a choice. You can go right and stay on the high trail which is the official PCT or you turn left and continue on the JMT, which reconnects with the PCT in 13 miles. Most hikers choose the JMT as it is much more scenic, traveling by several lakes which the official PCT misses. Double Down and I have always said “our” official PCT will be one continuous foot path to Canada and we are out here to see all of the beautiful sites. So we didn’t hesitate taking the JMT. Now it was uphill for 3.4 miles to Trinity Lakes and our tent site for the evening. On the way up we passed by Johnson Lake which was pretty but also had a gazillion mosquitoes, making it an easy choice to move on. We arrived at Trinity Lakes at 6:00 and have a great tent site over looking the lake. We had some mosquitoes when we first arrived but a breeze kicked up and helped to do away with those blood suckers.
The first day on trail after a wonderful zero are always hard for us mentally. It’s so easy to get use to the comforts of normal living and being with family and friends. We are loving this journey but there is always an adjustment to trail life after being off for a couple of days.
Tomorrow we should have some great scenery as we will get to hike by more amazing lakes as we make our way towards Donohue Pass. Thanks again for following along! Link