Mile 2609 to mile 2645.5
Sleep hard wake early, make my little oatmeal and eat it watching the fog move across the meadow. Hiking by 6:10, we’re climbing today but only 5 thousand feet. I walk with Tiny, he talks about being a chef, we discuss gender dynamics in kitchens, the history of what is and isn’t valued and by whom. The plants are wet, slapping against our legs, but the air is warming up. There’s a cold front moving in, day after tomorrow, bringing cold rain- looks like we’ll be finishing just in time. The weather is so wild on the PCT this year.
9 a.m. we take a break in a trampled campsite next to a stream and I eat the other half of my pie. Guthrie, Woody and Brainstorm join us and then we’re off again, up and up. Out of the trees onto the narrow ridges, weathered conifers and bright clearings, mountain ranges folded into each other way in the distance where we won’t ever walk. The trail is ending, is why. But what if it kept going into Canada? What if we could hike forever? Would we do it in a single season? Two? With a dog team?
I fall behind but can see the others in the distance, walking the ridge like ants, and I jog to catch them. I’m caffeinated today, via a mocha clif shot from a hiker box, and I slept well. I feel good. I join the ant train along the mountain- me, Twinkle, Guthrie, Krispies. Tiny and Woody ahead, crushing it. Even when we crush it, though, it’s a sort of slow-motion crushing. So slow that when we ride in cars now we get carsick, frightened at the speed. We’re only ants, how did we come this far. Turning the earth beneath our feet looking out at the light on the mountains, everything so beautiful, beautiful.
Last year there was trail magic at Hart’s pass, epic food and a campfire in the cold, cold rain. This year we reach the campground and there’s no-one, but I understand- it’s sunny and beautiful, we don’t need anyone to take care of us. Save it for the folks who will finish in the awful weather, when trail magic makes the difference between good humor and bottomed-out morale. We yard-sale our things out in the sunshine to dry the dew and make our own trail magic via the contents of our food bags- I eat tortilla chips and jelly belly sport beans, which are just regular jelly bellies with brilliant marketing and vitamin C added.
We’ve gone 21 miles by 1:30 p.m. and we spend an hour at Hart’s pass, laying around and eating. Also using the pit toilet, which we’ve taken to calling “toilet magic”.
These last few days are so sweet.
Just 16 miles to camp. I cruise with Guthrie and Krispies and we remark about this and that, how amazing everything is, all the things we’ve accomplished that we never thought we’d do. More ridgewalking, looking at Canada in the distance, everything so wild and sparkling with sun.
We reach camp at 7:40- 36.5 miles by 7:40 with an hour and a half of breaks, and my feet don’t even hurt. I feel astonished. Camp is a little grove of conifers in a green meadow overlooking a distant valley, tiny stream trickling through. Midnight Rider and Valentino are here, the woman and her horse, thru-hiking a second time! I watch them do horse things as I prepare my little tupperware of soaked spinach and peas, rip open a packet of tuna. She leads the horse by his rope to a patch of grass, the horse drops down and lolls about on his side. She ties the horse to a tree and puts a blanket on him. Horse things! How different her experience must be. There are a bunch of other hikers here too, day hikers, set up in the trees. And a hexamid in our midst, its occupant already asleep. The last of the light drains from the sky and we go, almost reluctantly, to bed. Only 14 miles to Canada!
Photos on instagram