Miles hiked: 13.6
Cumulative Miles: 1337.3 and over halfway!!
Camped at: Hidden Springs campsite with a weekender couple
Incredible, just incredible. The Goat Rocks Wilderness area definitely lived up to the hype I had heard about it, another “top 5 scenery” days on the PCT! Though I didn’t see any goats, drat. The ridge walk consisting of steep climbs and even steeper descents up and over Old Snowy (my kind of name!!) and other peaks was spectacular. Hard hiking, mostly due to the loose rocks/gravel trail which slip and slid under almost every footfall, but totally worth it. I meandered today, gawking for all I was worth and taking many breaks to soak in the views under the hot sun and cool breeze. The Knife Ridge descent from Old Snowy was steeeeep, but even with my fear of heights I’m glad I went that way and not the stock PCT route – I could see a large expanse of snow traverse with an immediate long drop off. At least on the ridge in most places if I would have fallen I might have been able to catch myself. Regardless, either route would have scared me silly if the weather had been rainy or heaven forfend storming. I’m very thankful I had picture perfect weather!!
Waking up this morning on my ridge campsite was sublime. Gorgeous color from the sunrise, cool breezes. I actually slept in a bit since my cumulative bug bites were so itchy last night I woke up multiple times and finally took a Benadryl. I was quite tired this morning, but it was more a Benadryl hangover feeling than anything else. Already took some this evening to hopefully negate that effect. I know from a memorable day in the Smokies last year that I can’t take Benadryl while hiking and not want to curl up on the side of the trail to nap! I still made it to my target campsite before 5pm, and decided not to go on after collecting water as I was done with climbing today. Hidden Springs certainly lived up to its name – took me a while to find a lovely clear flowing spring with cold water. Wouldn’t you know it was the last side trail (off the side trail) that I tried??
In the 2014 Bug War, I’d have to say today was a draw. Up on the ridges the breeze was such the mosquitos and flies were nearly non-existent. Once under tree line again, I used my bug net when taking breaks but they didn’t harass me near as badly as yesterday. Ditto in camp, though I ended up eating (but not cooking) in my tent, mostly because trying to eat with a headnet on requires much patience. My hiker hunger tummy is about the opposite of patient these days ;).