Monday, May 19, 2014

Day 43: Mile 458.7 - Mile 474.6

We had set the alarm for 4:30 and when it beeped I promptly snoozed it...for two hours. We woke and broke camp and hiked out at 7. The day seemed much cooler and we felt like we had dodged a bullet even though we slept in. The trail climbed immediately after we signed a register book and we paused in shady canyon drainages to soak in the cool drafts.

When we reached the top of our climb we saw a brown and white stripped snake that I've not seen before. I'm not sure what he was but he shook his tail like a rattle snake but he had no rattles and his head wasn't shaped like a poisonous snake. We gave him a wide berth anyway and headed on to our next water at Bear Spring. The spring comes out of a pipe a few feet above the trail in a little oak grotto. We sat, ate and cameled up for a while when all of a sudden two mountain bikers came flying down the trail. "You can't ride this trail" I hollered and they stopped to explain that they could stating that the PCT joins another trail in this section and that the signs only say no motor vehicles. I told him I was pretty sure that was wrong but he went on to try and convince me and tell me he would yield to all the hikers and tried to change the subject by chatting me up about the trail. I gave him short answers and wasn't really in the mood to chat with him and eventually they rode on followed by another biker. I'll email the PCTA when I'm in town and find out of he was right and let them know there's a problem there.

 We left Bear Spring and the day was blazing hot. We took in the views of Bouquet Lake as we descended to a road. There was a water cache under a large oak tree and we sat and enjoyed the shade even though we didn't need any water. We talked with a young couple from Canada who are pretty much career adventurers. They are trying to finish the entire trail by July so they can go on a canoe trip across Canada. We talked with them about pack weight, scuba diving the barrier reef, hitch hiking, careers and on and on and on for quite some time and they were very interesting! I'm brain dead tonight and can't remember their names but they have a page on Facebook named Free4Life.

They took off before us and we left a short time later and started chugging up a hill. We were a couple miles in to this section of up hill and I got way over heated. I looked around for some shade to try and cool down but was only surrounded by waist high bushy manzanita. It was high noon and there were no shadows or shade anywhere and alarm bells were sounding in my body to get out of the sun NOW. I started to panic and cry and called to Josh. "I need shade now, I'm too hot" he looked as frantic as me and I knew alarm bells were sounding in his body too. We continued up a bit searching frantically for a bush we could climb under and found a tiny bit of shade on a steep slope next to the trail. I tore off my pack and sat down, crying hard and Josh put some water on my neck. I told him no, to not waste the water like that, that he needed to drink it and he replied "don't tell me what to do." Which is usually one of my silly sayings but I was adamant he save his water. Still he put some on his bandana and put it on the back of my neck. I started to cool off and calm down but still kind of snapped at him which I feel bad about. He takes such good care of me sometimes it's overwhelming when I'm not used to that kind of care. I worry when he uses his supplies on me.

We decided we needed to siesta for a while and worked up the strength to continue to search for a shady spot. Josh found a tall, dead manzanita tree that was big enough for us to climb under. We used the tyvek ground cloth as a roof by weaving it thru the dead limbs. It wasn't a perfect shelter but it worked for about an hour and we stripped down our clothes as far as we could and tried to lay still. My stomach has been upset for days and I tried to eat things that would be gentle on it and not make me thirsty. The last few weeks I just can't get quenched. I drink water in all shapes and sizes with electrolytes, plain, with crystal light, from a cache, from a spring...and I just can't ever get that 'ahhhhh' feeling, all I get is a stomach ache trying to attain it.

We decided we needed to push on and get to the water cache and started out again on the uphill climb. The climb was not as steep and the wind had picked up cooling things down. Finally we made it to the top and wound out way down toward the Anderson's Cache with visions of cold sodas in our heads.

After what seemed like miles of poison oak, bugs and heat we arrived at the cache and made beeline for the cooler. We pounded a cream soda and an orange soda and I've never drank a soda so fast. After I sat like a zombie in a lawn chair trying to converse with other hikers. I didn't eat or drink water or anything while we were there I just sat. When we decided to head back out on the trail we only made it around the corner before it started to feel really weird. We had to sit again and I pounded a liter of electrolyte water and ate a substantial meal. We watched an ant hill while we ate and I was feeling better by the bite. We headed off again a short time later and pushed for a camp site 3 miles ahead.

It seemed like forever but we finally made it and pitched the tent near another hiker we met at the cache. It wasn't long after we were tucked in that several other groups arrived and we realized we were not in an ideal spot. Everyone has to squeeze around us to get access to other clearings on the saddle. We were spoiled before, having so few early starters on the trail but now it's getting crowded so well choose our tent sites in the future with that in mind.

Right now it 9pm and I'm so tired. I feel PMSish and worn out. Tomorrow we will start or road walk detour to Hiker Town. The PCT is closed for damage from the Powerhouse Fire a couple years ago. I really hope this will be our last road walk detour. It was a hard day today but I learned a lot of valuable new info and that's always a good thing.

Until tomorrow, goodnight.


  1. Definitely a common King Snake! Those dudes are immune to snake venom and will eat other snakes. Including Rattlers!

  2. Looks like a California King-snake. They are non-venomous.