PCT Day 23: Refuel

May 14

Mile 584.5-612.0 (27.5)

Chilly in the morning. We ate snacks for breakfast and lingered in our sleeping bags a little too long. Hikers began to pass by our little nest. Privacy gone, we packed up and hiked out.

I pounded some caffeine and put on Beyoncé’s new album. I left a little before Spider, thinking he would catch up soon, but the combination jetted me down the trail and it was nearly 10 miles before I saw him again. Under wind turbines and through burns, I hiked ferociously. It felt so good.

And then I ran out of fuel. Spider was behind me and we had some very short but steep climbs up the side of a mountain. We were out of the burn area and everything was green and pleasant, conifers and boulders and grasses and sandy tread. But it seemed to take everything I had to get up there. We took an early lunch break in a sunny spot next to the trail and refueled. It helped.

All afternoon we wound around mountain contours, surrounded by growth. Trees sending out new spring leaves, lizards and horny toads darting across the trail, long lush grass. We stopped around 2pm at Robin Bird Spring and ate more food and drank more water. We considered what it would take to hike less miles: more breaks, longer lunches, naps. We tried to linger but it was full of hikers and felt crowded and not ours. So we hiked on.

The next water source, Landers Meadow Spring, is the last natural water for a long, long time. There are unreliable water caches between Landers Meadow and Walker Pass but we didn’t want to over-rely on them, having been burned once before, and knew we would be at full carrying capacity. We planned to eat dinner there, tank up, and then hike a few more miles to a more secluded campsite.

Our camp tonight is a windy, sandy area on the edge of a mountain. We can see the yawning valley below. There are pine trees all around moderating the wind, ensuring a good night’s sleep. The sky is clear and the moon is out. I feel so in love with all of it.


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