Day 64: 6/11/14, PCT Mile 730.8

Miles hiked: 14.8
Camped at: the unfortunately named Death Canyon Creek, with Writer and many others

There’s just something about a campfire on a cool night. Especially the first one on the PCT, and when it helps keep the mosquitos away (which are getting persistent). We are officially out of the SoCal campfire ban, and a few thrus I met today decided to make a fire in the fire ring. Reminiscent of many AT evenings, many camped here gathered around, laughing and chatting, and in a PCT specific way complaining about bear canisters and oohing and ahhing over the scenery today. It was definitely a scan and gawk type of day today (scan for rocks and such on the trail, then gawk at the scenery). I took the most pictures today that I’ve taken in weeks :). The best is yet to come in the Sierra, and I am actively enjoying the environment again.

This morning I was out of camp at about 6:30, and enjoying the early morning light starting the several mile climb up to over 10000 feet, I believe the first time we’ve officially been this high in elevation. That record will be shattered almost on a daily basis until I get to Forrester Pass in a few days, the highest point on the PCT. Woohoo! I had lunch at the high point today, with an awesome view of distant snow capped high peaks. An easy descent over several miles followed by some flat trail brought me to the end of my day just before 4pm. It still seems so decadent to stop this early, but I was tired. Gotta build the endurance back up!

Despite the lungs protesting above 9500 feet, I still made good time on the climb, though I’m hoping my lung capacity continues to improve. Some dry hacking (the sand and dust continues) made me return to the buff over my mouth and nose routine. All in all, it’s such a wonder to feel mostly returned to normal, health-wise, while hiking!

A thunderstorm rolled through this afternoon and while I was only sprinkled on (yea for the umbrella!) others still up higher on the mountain reported seeing lightening and having good bouts of rain. Some fighter jets came close by during the thunder and at first I thought “that’s some LOUD thunder!”, then saw the plane. Amazing how removed from civilization I feel out here – no road or people noise for days now.

From Guthook’s App:

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Storm encroaching over the mountains:

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Cool PCT sign being devoured by a tree:

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I love packing out fresh fruit!

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