May 10, 2017: Hiked Miles 383.9 to 403.0 + 2.9 miles of a trail closure/missing a turn (22.0 total)
I spent half the night tossing and turning because I didn’t want to go outside to pee, but finally I forced myself to and even got to see a beautiful full moon. After that I slept much better. We woke up to a freezing cold morning and hurried to get things packed up.
We did granola and powdered milk for breakfast which was a horrible idea, because our water was freezing which meant the milk was freezing. Linda gave me some instant coffee packets when we were staying with them and I definitely regretted not making one for breakfast to warm me up. Definitely going to tomorrow.
We got a good start around 7:30 and climbed down one mountain and right back up another. The whole way we had amazing views of the clouds banked in underneath us again. It reminded me of a magical land where the cities are in the clouds.
Basically our whole day consisted of going up and down, up and down. It wasn’t as bad as yesterday’s hell hike, but it was still a hard day.
Part of the trail is closed due to it being inhabited by some yellow mountain frog. The closure has been in place for years. These frogs must have magical powers. Or the government is using the closure to hide some top secret stuff from us. That’s probably it. So to avoid hurting the magical frogs, we had to walk along Highway 2 for a few miles, cut through a campground, and take another trail that would take us back to the PCT.
As we were busy cruising along this highway, talking away, enjoying finally having some semi-flat ground, we saw a sign saying the campground entrance was in 500 feet. So we walked a little ways only to find an unmarked road gated off. So I checked my map and it turns out we had missed the campground over a mile back. We had seen what looked like a pull-out with a couple cars, but there weren’t any signs so we didn’t think anything of it. Turns out that was the campground exit, which we were supposed to take, even though the map called it the entrance, which was actually at the locked gate we were at.
So we walked down the entrance another half mile until we hit the campground. We only ended up walking an extra mile and a half or so, but it was still a little discouraging. But we learned our lesson! Don’t count on road signs to be there, especially in closure areas!
So we hiked down, down, down the hill, only to cross a creek and walk right up the otherside, the same way we came. We kept pushing on until we got to a creek and finally stopped for a well deserved lunch break and water refill. It was about 2:15 by this point and we had already walked over 16 miles, only taking about 20 minutes all together for breaks/trying to find the trail, so we were a little tired. Our stream water looked pretty clear again so we took a chance and didn’t filter it. It turned out fine yesterday, so we’re hoping for the same today. We chowed down and tried to plan out mileage for our next couple days. For lunch I usually eat two tortillas with a tuna packet and cheesestick split between the two, with a mini slim jim in each and some crumbled up crackers or chips inside. After I ate my second tortilla, I looked down and realized I still had half a pack of tuna left. I had forgot to add it to my second tortilla. It’s only like the main ingredient. Colton was cracking up laughing. I was pleasantly surprised the wrap had still tasted good without the tuna. Although eating the tuna on its own after that was not so good.
After lunch we climbed yet another hill (surprise) and made it back to the highway. The rest of the afternoon wasn’t too brutal, as we wound our way down the canyon and crossed the highway a couple more times. We also passed mile 400! We’re practically done, as Colton would say.
We considered staying here, but the room was stifling hot. Although I’m sure tonight it will feel pretty good. But it was only 5:00 so we figured we could get a few more miles in anyways. So we kept pushing on, down, down, down the canyon.
We booked it to camp and set up in the mist. The sun kept trying to poke through, but it stayed cold and misty and I was freezing by the time we finished eating. Colton climbed a little hill to see the sunset.
And I stretched a lot and got inside my sleeping bag to try and get warm. Now we’re both inside, savoring the last of our candy and contemplating the best configuration for our sleeping bags, pads, and extra clothes to try and stay as warm as possible tonight.