PCT miles: 313 to 328
As I was eating breakfast (bagel and cream cheese) in my tent this morning, Hobo and Caddy (I’ve been spelling her name wrong) walked by and saw me. Apparently they got a good laugh out of that – they seem to catch me when my mind is exclusively on food.
About a mile in I bumped into a hiker named Rhino. She’s a doctor in the Yukon, originally from South Africa, and she’s traveled a ton of places. She got her trail name because she’s raising money to save rhinos while hiking the PCT. She’s a fascinating lady and her pace worked really well for me so I hiked with her for about an hour and a half before we found Rawhide in the shade and I sat down. Sadly I didn’t catch her again all day.
I managed to cruise pretty well for several miles after that, often taking a break when I would catch up with Rawhide. We spent a good part of the day walking on some hills near a road and then eventually beside the road. Rawhide wasn’t a fan – “what is this, filler?” she told some other hikers. I didn’t love it but I didn’t mind. We even took a brief break under a not-very-tall road bridge.
From there we hiked to Silver Wood Lake. I’d been pushing it on water, only carrying a liter for the last 7 miles or so (low for me) but I ended up being okay, in part because the trail was relatively flat and also because it only got up to about 70 degrees today – still hot, but doable. The trail made us walk all the way around the lake without any real access points (unless you felt like scrambling steeply down to some of the beaches, which Agnes [now Mermaid] and Francois did). Rawhide texted me that it was torture and it kind of was.
Eventually we got to a picnic area and relaxed. A group of other hikers had ordered pizza and we stared jealously until we decided to order our own round. It arrived about an hour later and was delicious.
Rawhide and I had planned to try camping at a picnic area that was still a mile further but were feeling unsure that we would be able to camp there undetected. Another hiker mentioned a paid campground nearby ($5) and immediately my mind was made up that I was going there. Rawhide wanted to keep going even if it meant not finding a campsite for several miles, so she did.
I called Mark as I was walking to camp and it was good to talk to him, although I should probably be better about using my phone battery wisely.
The campsite is fine, but there aren’t any other thruhikers here, only some people who seemed to have been boating all day, and I’m lonely and a little scared. As I was walking to camp I saw a sign talking about mountain lions that explicitly said “don’t hike alone”, which is not something I’ll have much choice about tomorrow.
Not to mention, tomorrow will likely prove to be a long day. It’s 14+ miles to Cajon Pass for me and there’s not much in the way of camping. I could either get a $75 hotel for the night and get back on trail the next day, or resign myself to hiking between 16 and 20 miles. I suppose it will depend on how I’m feeling and how quickly I get miles done in the morning. It’ll be interesting to see how I operate when I’m not expecting to see my closest hiker family all day. I’m not really looking forward to it, but I also don’t have much choice.