Day 63: 6/10/14, PCT Mile 716.5

Miles hiked: 11.8
Camped at: South Fork Kern River campsite with Writer and many others

A luxury to be finished by 2:30pm – my “going slow” plan fell right in line when I saw the incredible natural beauty of this area, the algae in the river notwithstanding. Writer was perfectly amenable when she arrived, so here we are! I met lots of great thrus and section hikers today, some of which seem to be going as slow as us to my surprised delight, I frankly thought I’d have to wait until my mileage picked up to potentially find a new group to really get to know. I have to admit I was happy when a loud, large, group of hikers went on at about 4pm. As a group they weren’t approachable though a few said “hi” back. I hope they are fast movers as I found it awkward to initiate conversation with them – the first standoffish group I’ve met on the PCT. I’m in the middle of the herd that started at Kickoff, so I guess I need to expect more company on the trail than previously, but everyone other than those folks is nice and happy to meet and chat.

This morning I entered into 200 miles of trail uncrossed by any road – yowza! I can resupply by hiking out on side trails, but this is definitely the most remote backcountry I’ve been in this far. Gorgeous start to the day walking along the Kern River – so wonderful to be by a babbling brook again! Another burn area soon appeared, and I was reminded instantly of Blue Butterfly’s story about when she walked through here in 2008 when it was still smoldering. Lots of great wildflowers now though it was plenty hot and exposed. Lots and lots of bugs out now in comparison to when I got off the trail almost 3 weeks ago – flies, gnats, mosquitos. Summertime is here again!

Today’s hike was relatively easy and except for coughing from the dust (I need to remember to put my buff over my mouth and nose) and needing to pause in the shade on the climbs if they were particularly steep in the hot sun. Not unexpected at all, so I’m quite pleased with my lungs’ performance thus far. Incredibly awesome that the water sources were no more than 5 miles apart today – talk about luxury!

The start of 200 miles without road crossing:

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At South Kern River:

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