Miles hiked: 14.9
Camped at: Sonora Pass with Cat Burglar and Firestarter
Today was one of my very favorite scenic days. Of the entire trip. WOW! Most of the day was spent hiking on a truly epic ridge traverse at 10000 feet to close to Sonora Pass. I took so many pictures today, it might rival Day 1! Happy 3 month PCT Trail-versary to me, what a way to celebrate.
Welcome back, wonderfully graded PCT switchbacks, I’ve missed you! I was worried about the climb this morning with 3.5+ liters of liquid with me (water and Gatorade) as there were no water sources along the 10 mile stretch of ridgeline. Not that I wasn’t used to carrying much more water in the desert but for some reason the bear can makes all the difference. Apparently steepness is what’s truly making my lungs unhappy still, not the elevation per se, as I had very little problem walking at close to my normal pace all day today. Granted, I was so busy gawking at all the views I had to pay attention not to slip down the slope off the trail (which would have been bad in many areas – very steep and/or rocky). Happily no accidents and I’m so happy I got to experience such an amazing stretch of trail on such a lovely day.
When I think back on this day I’ll remember: Small wildflowers in yellow, pink, red, and white clinging to life amidst the sandy soil and volcanic rocks. Bright blue sky with puffy white clouds. Strong breeze on the ridge, knocking me about and keeping me cool in the relentless exposure and sunshine. Almost losing Mr Gimpy 3.0 (umbrella) to the wind before I put him away. Stunning view after stunning view…after stunning view. Waving goodbye to my last glimpse of the tall Yosemite mountains in the distance that I had actually hiked over. Wondering where I was going to pee in the exposed terrain (ya just gotta go for it). And a few snow traverses in July, just crazy!
Did I mention loneliness yesterday? Well, a thing of the past today. I had a great reunion with Blue Butterfly, who may be getting off the trail :(, leapfrogged with Mad Hatter all day, and at the last water source before the road I was so excited to see Firestarter and Cat Burglar walk up! Great to get “caught up” with them though it had been less than 48 hours ;).
Many hopes that section hiker Lot makes a quick recovery – I took a morning break with him and learned he’s been nauseous and generally miserable since he got on at Tuolumne several days ago. Reminded me of my unfortunate bout with gastroenteritis around Big Bear. Feel better soon!
Hemlock, on an exposed ridge this afternoon I used one of your B-tricks! Umbrella-related ;).