Day 79 mile 1328 – 1346.3
Elevation: ascent 2,981 ft, descent 2,391 ft
First off, I just wanted to make a quick comment about reaching the halfway point of this trail. I figured the milestone was going to be just another mile marker that we go to check off as we head toward Canada. However, I was surprised by the wave of emotions and the feeling of elation that came over me as we got a glimpse of the marker in the distance. It really gave me a huge sense of accomplishment and made me realize there is no way I’m not going to finish this journey. You see up until yesterday, when asked by other hikers where we were headed I would respond “hopefully Canada”. Now if they ask I will say “Canada”, as I can’t even picture that not happening.
Now for today. Following our big day yesterday we decided to continue the celebration by turning off the alarm and just waking up when our bodies were ready. We didn’t start to stir until 7:30 this morning, by far the latest we have slept in. With us sleeping in we also got to see Mantis and Pants as they actually got up early as they were heading into Chester to resupply. As I got up out of the tent and collected our bear bags I was reaching for the top of mine when I noticed a black object sitting right by the ropes I was about to grab. This caused me to dropped the bag, mostly likely crushing my pop-tarts sitting on the bottom. Turns out the black object was a frog! It obviously jumped off in the commotion and was hopping toward the creek. So I quickly grabbed it so Double Down could see. She is a sucker for frogs 😁. We then decided to have coffee and breakfast before leaving camp, which meant we didn’t leave until about 9:00 today. An added bonus Pants took our trash of empty beer cans and root beer bottles, WOOHOO!!!!
After saying goodbye once more to Mantis and Pants we headed off up the trail towards Hwy 36. We were only going a little more than 18 miles today. We have to stop short because after 18 miles we will enter Lassen National Park, which requires bear canisters for over night stays. Since almost every PCT hiker has sent that home it means you have to travel the 19 miles through the park in one day. So we will stop just short allowing us to comply with the park’s regulations.
The trail today was fairly hot, dry and dusty. It makes it hard for Double Down and I to hike closely with each other as the second person gets consumed in a cloud of dust and looks like Pig Pen from the Peanuts (I know I am dating myself with that reference 😂).
We are starting to see the trail flatten out a little and the climbs aren’t quite as steep which is making things easier on our legs. Don’t get me wrong we are still treated with very steep sections by they are more infrequent. Most of the day we could see Mt Lassen looming just to the west and it is quite impressive as it is just so much larger than the surrounding mountains.
We got to the North Fork of the Feather River at 2:15 and made this our lunch spot for the day. With the hotter weather we both took the opportunity to get in the river to cool off and clean off some of the dirt from our legs. While we were there we ran into Thing 1 and Thing 2, who are hiking this section on their own. If you remember their parents Thing Chaser and Thing Maker had provided us with some trail magic yesterday. We chatted with the boys who we had not seen since Mt Whitney and got caught up with their adventures. We will see them later tonight, as they are also camping at the Boundary Spring right before Lassen.
The last climb of the day didn’t deviate from the norm much as once again we found ourselves on the steepest trail with the most sun exposure. At least it wasn’t more than 2.5 miles long. One of the hard parts of hiking in the heat is we are sweating much more but the warm weather also causes our water bottles to heat up. Trying to quench your thirst with warm water is very difficult.
We arrived at the Boundary Spring at 5:15. The spring water again is ice cold and super clear, helping us to quench our bodies desire for water. We also meet Rev who is through hiking as well. Rev is a retired pastor who is in his sixties and is hiking the trail solo (not much of a secret on how he got his trail name). Not much later the Thing brothers showed up and the four of us had some great conversations while eating dinner.
Yesterday’s accomplishment and festivities were going to be hard to beat and some days you just have hiking that doesn’t produce amazing memories but are no doubt part of the complete journey and helps to make the highs even higher. Double Down and I always say to each other that if it was easy many more people would do it. Hope you continue to enjoy our adventures and again thanks for reading. Link