Day 89 mile 1549.6 – 1572.3
Elevation: ascent 3,452 ft, descent 2,918 ft
We didn’t get up early enough this morning to see the sunrise as the alarm didn’t wake us until 6:00. With the bigger miles yesterday and knowing we didn’t have to get in as many today called for more sleep. We are also finding that using some Aleve after big days has really helped prevent muscle soreness and we typically feel great the next morning. Gotta love the miracles of modern medicine!!
We got out of camp around 7:15 this morning and really enjoyed the cooler temps we had to start hiking with. I took a quick glance at the weather and saw that we had about a 40% chance of thunderstorms later today. If we were in the Sierra I would assume that was 100%, not sure what to expect from the weather patterns here in Northern California. The morning consisted of mainly hiking along an exposed ridge which gave us some distant views of the Trinity Alps.
I took the lead for part of the morning and was really enjoying the trail and views we were having. It has been a while where we have had back to back days with hiking that has really peaked our interest. So I found myself in a really good rhythm while looking around to take it all in. Then something caught my eye and I glanced down only to see a large coiled rattlesnake lying in the trail 2 feet in front of me. I slammed on the brakes and felt all the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up. This snake didn’t seem to care that we were cruising down the trail, so much so that it never even rattled. One more step by me and I think I would have been close to stepping on it, which obviously would have been VERY BAD!! It then slithered off into the bushes before I was able to get my camera out to grab a picture. Well to say the least for the next hour I wasn’t looking around at the views very much. Instead I was hyper focused on the trail in front of me.
After breakfast my nervousness had calmed back down and we were cruising along. Well you guessed it, rattler number two for the day appeared right next to the trail. This one was one of the biggest we have seen. At least 4 feet long and again not seeming to be very scared of us. This guy hung around long enough for us to get a picture and video.
As we decided in elevation I was no longer looking around since I was scanning every twig and branch on the ground determining if it was a threat.
Right before lunch we had a long ascent and the cooler temps from the morning had given way to hot and humid weather making for a not so enjoyable climb. We entered the Trinity Alps Wilderness right before lunch time and started to get new views of the surrounding peaks, which were awesome!! Thomas who we have been leap frogging the past few days was there and we had a chance to chat some more with him. He is super nice and it was fun to hear about some of his tales from his two prior long trails (AT and CDT).
After lunch we knew the rest of the day was going to be spent climbing most of the time. What helped us out was that the thunderstorm predicted for today seemed to be rolling in. We were treated to entertaining rumbles from the sky above. The cloud cover helped to cool things down a bit and made for a less exhausting climb.
We were getting more views north and really enjoyed seeing the varying peaks and skyline we were getting. Double Down took the lead here and literally about 30 minutes into the afternoon climb I heard another rattle coming from the bushes as we passed by. Three rattlesnakes in one day!! That just doubled our total for the whole trip. We didn’t get a glimpse of this one which was fine by me. It’s funny how many people before this trip always asked if we were afraid of bears. I always told them it was the rattlesnakes that worried me the most. Mainly because with the snakes you sometimes are on top of them before you even realize they are there.
As we neared the top we started to see a lot more wildflowers again and even ran across deer three different times. The flowers with their dark green leaves against the backdrop of red rocks made for some great photos. We even ran into a trail crew who had been out for 8 days working on the section we were headed for. They even invited us to join them for dinner but we really wanted to get in a few more miles today, so we reluctantly turned down their offer.
On the way to camp we could here bells ringing off in the distance and knew it was free roaming cattle but couldn’t get a glimpse of them until we were a mile from camp. There was a group of about 10-12 cows just roaming a meadow (too far away to get a picture).
We got to camp at 5:50 and the thunder above along with the dark skies started to let loose a few raindrops. So we quickly threw our tent up and were ready to dive in when things let up a bit. We figured we would have time to make dinner and get cleaned up as it seemed like the storm was ending. Right after eating and cleaning up the skies opened up, this time with more rain. So we took shelter in the tent and we are lying here as rain is now steadily beating on our tent. Guess the prediction of thunderstorms here is as guaranteed as the Sierra.
Tomorrow is a special day for us as we have some Trail Magic planned. Again one of our followers and former thru hiker of the PCT in 2015 wanted to meet us on trail and bring some trail magic with him. We are both very excited to meet him and hear some of his stories of his thru hike. We can’t believe how lucky we are to have been connected to so many giving and supportive people on this journey. Can’t wait to tell you more about it.
Thanks for following along on our journey!! Link