Day 65 mile 1043.2 – 1069.1

Elevation: ascent 4,660 ft, descent 5,066 ft

Wow a lot happened today! We were heading down hill this morning hiking towards Noble Lake. As we got to the lake we got to start our day off with a snow field crossing. The crossing itself wouldn’t have been bad except that it was a bit icy and slopes down into Noble Lake. One slip and we would have had a very wet start to the day. If we would have had microspikes still, it would have been simple but since we didn’t I got to kick in steps which was more work than I wanted to do just beginning the day.

After Noble Lake we headed down towards Noble Creek. This area was fun to hike in as we were starting to see more wild flowers and the switchbacks through the volcanic rock was fun. Not hitting really high elevations today made for shorter climbs and descents, which our legs definitely appreciated.

Sierra Juniper Tree

We found ourselves walking by numerous lakes. Well I should say near them. We could see the lakes today but the PCT seems to avoid getting you to close to them. We both would have preferred more of an up close and personal view of these lakes since that is one of our favorite things of being in the mountains.

Unnamed Lake
Upper Kinney Lake
Lower Kinney Lake

In the late morning we started to see drastic changes in the scenery. We would climb up out of the forest into a stark landscape that made us feel like we were on Mars. Then we would descend back down into a shady lush forest with creeks still running full.

We stopped for lunch at Raymond Canyon Creek when we noticed the dark clouds rolling in. Being in the Sierra often, we both knew this was going to mean a good chance of an afternoon thunderstorm. We barely had gotten lunch out and I was just finishing up filtering water when the rain drops started to fall. Well so much for a nice big lunch break. So the bags of food went back into the packs and our duck packs went on. At least it was still relatively warm out so Double Down and I opted to just hike in the rain without our rain jackets. Thunder was rumbling above as we turned a corner to see a young buck just grazing, seemingly unfazed by the storm. At least someone was getting to eat lunch. The thunderstorm continued for the next 3 hours.

The thunder and rain entertained us for the next couple of hours until it turned to small hail. Then it wasn’t quite as fun 🤣. We also reached a spot on the trail that was still covered by a large snow field. The reports were that this snow field was very sketchy and if you didn’t have microspikes, you needed to make sure you climbed up over the snow to avoid a disastrous fall. Well the reports were right!! The problem was that hiking up and over the snow wasn’t the easiest either. We made it across without any issues except for elevated heart rates.

The rain finally let up around 4:00 and we were starving since our lunch had been cut short. The issue was that we were now back down in the wet forest floor and had ventured back into mosquito hell!! We couldn’t find a spot to stop without being swarmed. It was hard enough to stop to go to the bathroom let alone stopping to cook, so we continued on. Finally, around 4:30 we found a spot that worked. It wasn’t perfect but it allowed us to whip up our dinner, clean up and move on satisfying our stomach’s cries for calories.

After packing up and moving on we found that what had been our original plan to camp would have been awful!! The forest there was soaked with water running all over the place and mosquitoes were attacking from all angles. Glad we had scrapped that idea. You see we decided earlier that day that if we could pull off two 25 mile days we could actually reach Echo Lake and a rest by tomorrow night. This would allow us to see family sooner and get us into a comfortable bed. So we now continued to ascend hoping to get to a camp site around Lost Lakes. At 8:00 we reached a summit and found a couple of flat spots. One of them we were looking at had a “rock” sitting by it, until Double Down noticed it looked like a deer. Well wouldn’t you know it the rock was a deer sitting there just starring at us. Double Down then turned to me and said “what if she is hurt and needs help”. I looked at her and pointed out that even if the deer was hurt there was absolutely nothing we could do. We found a nice spot about 100 yards further, but we had to decide if we wanted to stop a little short and be totally exposed. Not knowing if the night would be windy. Well we couldn’t pass up the views we had and our legs told us we were done hiking after putting in almost 26 miles for the day.

Hopefully our bodies recover enough to allow us to hike the 23 miles tomorrow needed to reach our pick up spot at Echo Lake. Thanks for following along! Link