July 30, 2017: Hiked Miles 1557.7 to 1576.5 (18.8 total)
We woke up early this morning when the alarm went off at 5:30. It was still dark and cool and the campground was quiet. We packed up and ate breakfast and were on the trail around 7:00.
We watched the sun pop over the mountains and could feel the sun rays warm up the back of our necks. We started sweating instantly and were warmed up. It was the perfect Sunday morning. I went to a pretty cool church back home before I started the trail, but I can’t lie, the mountains are my favorite church of all. There’s no where else I feel as much at peace in the entire world.
We passed by countless mountain lakes throughout the morning, passed the most beautiful meadows full of flowers, crossed over trickling mountain streams and had views to die for.
We met a cowboy at one point during the morning who was riding the trail with his horse and four dogs. We stopped to talk to him and found out he was looking for his cows. We have heard bells off and on the past few days down in some of the valleys and canyons and had just heard some a couple miles back from the cowboy. And sure enough, the bells belonged to the cows he was looking for and he was encouraged to find out he didn’t have far to go to herd them. He jokingly asked us if we needed a trail companion and wanted to adopt one of his dogs, which I was very close to saying yes to. But then I remembered how much my pack already weighs… and how much dog food weighs.
We climbed up and up and up all morning. We were rewarded with some amazing views. And also with numerous deer footprints in the trail. And mountain lion prints too…yikes!
We finally stopped for lunch around 1:30 when we found a nice cool stream on the side of the mountain. We were starving after all our climbing we had done so we chowed down. And then took some naps.
After a long lunch break we continued our hike. The sky had grown even smokier. There must be some decent fires somewhere and the smoke just seems to be following us around. I can handle smoke, but I would rather the fires stay away. Although fires near the PCT are not too uncommon, given the fact we are walking through forests everyday in the middle of lightning country.
We had a fun afternoon walking through the forests, popping up on ridges occasionally to beautiful views of the valley, and talking about childhood memories, mainly of all the fun we have had at water parks throughout our lives. It’s funny the things that pop into your mind when you’re sweating your butt off.
We made it down to the South Fork of the Scott River and found a perfect little campsite to set up in. We washed our feet off in the cool stream water and enjoyed sitting down after a good day of hiking.
We got into camp a little later than the past few days since we did a lot more mileage today, so we were ready to eat right away. We had a nice quick dinner and Colton pulled out his Oreos he’s been holding hostage from us and made a peanut butter and Oreo tortilla for dessert. I might have stolen an Oreo. While we were finishing up dinner, Colton suddenly jumped up and said “Holy crap, I think I see a mountain lion.” I was about to start yelling and banging my pot against a tree to scare him off, when the creature came out from behind a tree and luckily it was only a deer. We’re not cat food tonight it looks like.
Today was Jeanine’s longest day yet on the trail and she is killing it. We dragged her up and down hills all day through the heat and she pushed on, never complaining even when her knees were bothering her after a steep downhill. After having horrible knee problems in the beginning, I remember the pain she is going through and can feel for her. I hope she wakes up tomorrow pain free and can still enjoy the last couple days of her trip with us. It’s been so fun having her hike with us and I feel very blessed to have been there for her first, of hopefully many, long backpacking trips on the PCT. We figured if she keeps plugging away a week a year on the trail she should finish the trail when she’s 73. Not too bad.