Miles Hiked: 14.6 miles via Mt Baden Powell at 9,399 ft (highest I’ve been so far on the PCT!)
Camped at: Little Jimmy Campground with Rei, Purple, Carnivore, and many others including Happy Feet, Teddy Rose, and Uke
“Slow baby steps, sloooower, remember tiny, ok you’re doing good!” – my mantra climbing today much above 8000 feet, which included a good part of the morning going up Mt Baden Powell. I’m already slow on climbs though I pride myself on a steady pace and not needing to stop, but my lungs certainly don’t seem to like being above 8000 feet much. I really hope that changes with the Sierra coming up. It’s funny, it really doesn’t matter if I’m wearing my pack or not – the last tenth of a mile to the summit of Baden Powell is off of the PCT, so I left my pack with some other thrus who had already summited and scurried up. Or, rather, I tried to do so. Slow tiny steps was the key – I could maintain that, but not my normal stride. Somewhat frustrating as I watched everyone I started with today quickly outpace me. In fact, I only ended up leapfrogging with Twice, who was feeling off today. Oh well, it’s not a competition. I just really want to find a fellow hiker who actually has a similar pace to mine! I did outpace several day hikers, though, amongst the multitudes who were climbing the Mtn today ;).
This morning began scurrying around the room trying not to wake up Rei, who I shared the motel room with last night, and also not forget anything. A quick trip up the mountain to the road crossing by the motel owners, who run a very reasonable shuttle, and I was hiking in the typical beautiful early morning light by 6:30 am. Princess, Mr Sandals, Gretchen, Papa Bear, Hog, Twice, and I quickly knocked out the first 4 miles then had a fun break together at the Mt Baden Powell trailhead picnic area. Ahh, I do love picnic tables! I took a long break about halfway up to eat some more (my campaign to front load calories in the AM was mostly successful today!) and chatted for a long time with a day hiker, who so kindly gave me a Baggie full of pistachios. Packing out so much fresh food was such a treat! I was planning on saving half the orange and green pepper for tomorrow….but that didn’t happen.
After Baden Powell, the PCT meandered through a rolling ridge walk, and let me tell you, when you really need to go to the bathroom on a ridge with sharp drop offs on either side and you know there are many other hikers around, even if you’ve been hiking by yourself for a while, you don’t have that many options. I got the deed done, and even without unpleasantly surprising anyone! I had a beautiful break spot, too :). Another burn area made up most of the rest of the day. The burn areas cause so much conflict within me – on one hand I know they are often necessary to maintain good forest health, but it’s depressing walking through so many that I know were caused by humans being stupid rather than via a planned burn.
Despite not even hiking 15 miles today, I decided to stick with my original plan and stay at this established campsite tonight – I feel pleasantly tired but not worn out like my last 2 nights after hiking. This campsite is nostalgically is reminding me of AT camping for really the first time, except different. There are many picnic tables, several privies, no trash, no shelter, and towering pine trees. It’s the people that are making me think of the AT! We’ve had lots of fun in camp tonight, but I do hope the singing stops by dark, aka hiker midnight.
The multiple gear failures continue: my 1L Gatorade platy started leaking (which Susan gave me not that long ago, aughh!) and I discovered a small hole in the mesh on my tent. The mesh is fixable, but I’ve tried to be so careful with site selection it’s a bit frustrating. Again I longed for my good ole trusty Big Agnes Copper Spur tent as it was difficult to drive stakes into the rocky ground, and I heartily dislike fiddling with camp set-up. *sigh*, I’m seriously starting to think about getting it sent to me for the Sierra, when I know I’ll be tenting every night due to the mosquitos. I may not mind carrying the extra weight when I know I’ll use it everyday….maybe?? Twice, who hiked through the Sierra last year, told me a few horror stories about how bad they can get during dinner, yikes.
My afternoon break spot on a lovely ridge after Baden Powell: