Day 71 mile 1162.4 – 1187, plus an extra 1.4
Elevation: ascent 3,162 ft, descent 5,119 ft
We woke early this morning as we had visions of getting in about 24.5 miles today if we could. The reason, yes you guessed it, a town. If we can hike this mileage it will set us up for an easier day trip into Sierra City the next day. So the alarm went off at 5:30 and we were ready to hit the trail, until I had to take care of a few emails since we had cell reception. So we didn’t leave until 6:45. It was cool this morning which helped with the mosquito factor and our cup of coffee helped to warm our hands and bellies while we hiked. Reports were that descending down into the valleys would bring increased mosquitoes so we were at least mentally prepared for what might come.
The trail was relatively smooth most of the day which made for easy hiking. Double Down led the way this morning and got the unfortunate job of clearing the trail of the hundreds of spider webs that had been strung across the previous night. She missed a few, allowing me the pleasure of getting a few right across the face. Not sure if that was on accident 😜.
Today had us climbing four separate times but it was the first time in a long time that the grade of each climb wasn’t crazy. We would descend down into a valley through a wooded section with snow (yes we are still seeing snow), creeks and ponds. All of the water will be slow to evaporate due to the shade that the trees are providing. We can’t believe we are still seeing or walking on snow. It has been over 400 miles since our trail hasn’t had some snow on it 😳. After the valleys we would climb to the top of a mountain getting above tree line and being rewarded with unobstructed views for miles in each direction. The last almost 100 miles has had these spectacular ridge line walks that we have really enjoyed.
On one of our climbs up, we ran into Mantis and Pants who were sitting on rocks. We thought they were just taking a break but turns out Pants had spotted a bear in the valley below and they had just been watching him/her (third one of our trip). We joined in for a while as well, plus the view from on top of the rocks was picturesque. We definitely enjoy our time with Mantis and Pants and are very glad we have gotten to share some of our experiences together!
After lunch we descended down to some of the lowest elevations we have been in for a while (6,100 feet) which meant warmer temps. The mosquitoes weren’t as bad as reports from a week ago so our timing coming through this section may be good. Trust me, they are still there but just not the numbers that would drive a human crazy.
We got to Jackson Meadows Reservoir which is obviously used by many for water activities. With July 4th coming up, there was a steady stream of cars hauling campers and boats into the surrounding campgrounds. Double Down and I stopped at Pass Creek for water as we had run dry after drinking all of it over the past 4 miles with the warmer temps. I had to climb down a steep embankment to collect the water from the creek. Definitely nice that the water was cold and tasted great. Then we crossed the grated bridge and were heading for camp.
We were dry camping again so we needed to collect water to carry the last 1 1/2 miles. This is when things went south for me. We reached the trail sign for Bear Creek Spring which was where we planned to get our water. The problem was that the sign was more on the right of the trail. So I assumed the trail to the spring went to the right and should only be 150 yards. I should have consulted the map and GPS but I was sure this was right. Double Down stayed with our packs and I headed off to get water. Well after walking almost 3/4 of a mile I found no spring. On the way back I even climbed down a slope to a creek but that was bone dry. I got back to Double Down and was pissed, feeling like I was duped into believing there was a spring there. That is when we checked our map and app. Turns out the trail I was on was the PCT and the trail to the left went to the spring. I had just walked 1.4 miles for nothing. Now I was really pissed at myself for not checking our maps and just making assumptions!! I quickly went down the right trail, collected water and then got to walk that same section of the PCT again 😡.
We reached our tent site at 6:30 and were pleasantly surprised that the mosquitoes were not in the thousands. Both of us physically felt pretty good all day even with the increased mileage. Definitely helped we didn’t have a ton of climbing. I continue to use olive oil to help with increasing my calorie consumption. We are excited to get into Sierra City tomorrow for some food before getting back out on the trail.
We continue to learn out here and will have laughs about the mishaps at the end of today even though, at the time, it didn’t seem so funny.
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