PCT Day 30: Into the Sierra

May 21

Mile 706.7-734.0 (27.3)

It was a chilly morning. Spider was groggy from a bad night’s sleep due to the cold. I slept beautifully in my warm sleeping bag but was reluctant to get out of bed anyway.

We were hiking by 7am. We climbed gradually to a wide open alpine meadow bordered by rocky mountains. The sky was blue. It was still cold, and windy, but fine as long as we kept moving.

The trail climbed over 4000 feet over the course of the morning. The PCT is so gradual that most of the time we can barely tell we were climbing. We took lunch about 5 miles before the peak at a clear stream where the water was cold and sweet. In a full belly haze, I led us down the wrong path and we ended up hiking straight up a couple hundred feet. Felt like we were back on the AT.

We could see snowy peaked mountains in the distance, many miles away, and kept our eyes on the clouds gathering at the horizon. We’d heard rumors of a storm but found nothing on the weather report so we’re just staying aware. Ran into a little bit of old hard snow on the north side of the mountains as we were descending. No problem to hike through without spikes.

Descended a bit, then the trail leveled out around 9000 feet. Sandy with lots of boulders, beautiful conifers. Saw our first marmots, fat like groundhogs. The wind picked up and we got cold, then it subsided and we got hot. That’s about how the whole day went. We stopped for dinner at Death Canyon Creek and got really permanently cold, had to hike uphill a few more miles to warm up. Home tonight is a sheltered campsite at 10,200 feet. Full moon.


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