PCT Day 5 – Snake, Rattle and Stroll

Started: 06:50 @ MM 77.0 – Stagecoach RV

Finished: 19:35 @ MM 101.1 – Barrel Spring

Water: Drank about 6L!

Wildlife: SNAKE !!!

Health: 0 Blisters. Eating, drinking, sleeping, peeing and pooping so all is good apart from the molluscs!

After the trials and tribulations of yesterday we had planned to spend two relatively easy days strolling to Warner Springs … However, one thing I am learning very quickly on the PCT is to never rely on a plan. It seems that being flexible and adaptable is one of the key ingredients for a successful hike. What I was sure of … we needed an early start to get up the climb at Scissors Crossing, before the desert started cooking us. It was also another big water carry … 14.4 miles before we would reach the famous 3rd Gate Water Cache.

We waited 40 mins for a ride, finally a Mexican in and old beaten up panel van pulled over and gave us a lift to the trail head. It was later than I would have liked but we still had a reasonable jump on the heat and a thin layer of cirrus clouds was just taking the edge off of the temperature. My legs and feet felt in surprisingly good shape and the trail was nicely graded along the numerous switch backs. Before I knew it I was way up high looking back down on the tiny cars and trucks. 

Looking Down From the Morning’s Climb
 The first major excitement of the day was a snake sighting! Thankfully, Chance and Bacon were up ahead and by the time I caught up it had slithered off the trail. I was happy to have broken my snake duck and still managed snagged a photo to authenticate my daring encounter. We hiked on … spirits were high and we were making good progress. 
My First Rattler!
 As the morning turned into the afternoon the mercury climbed and the shade vanished. The short arsed spiky succulents and scratchy stunted scrub offered absolutely zero respite from the relentless sun. Everything was parched including my skin, lips and nose … I was fairly certain that a small family of molluscs had taken root up my nostrils. It felt like a mussel bed up there! We had no option but to trek on to the water cache.  
Hot, Dry and Happy to Reach Water
 The 3rd Gate Water Cache is one of the most famous caches on the PCT and just about the only one that can be relied upon. Trail Angels and the PCTA transports hundreds of gallons of water to this remote section of trail. Without this cache, dehydration and heat exhaustion would keep rescue service way too busy. I gave thanks to the Trail Angels …

Giving Thanks to the Trail Angels at 3rd Gate Cache
 This was supposed to be our camp for the night but it was still really early in the day. During our shoe and sock off shade time we somehow managed to talk ourselves into hiking on. At some point we miraculously emerged from the arid wasteland and there below in the distance we could see the lush, green promised lands. Mile fever took over and before I knew it we were at MM 100!  
Mile Fever Got Us to MM 100
We finally rolled into Barrel Springs at 7:30pm. It had been another 24 mile day … Fuck I’m getting too old for this shit, but boy does it feel good! 

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