Started: 07:05 @ MM 294.1 – Holcomb Creek Camp (Elevation 5,230ft)
Finished: 17:50 @ MM 318.0 – Grass Valley Creek (Elevation 3,343ft)
Water: Drank 5L and still felt dehydrated
Food: Oatmeal, Jerky, Trail Mix, Trek Bar, Sweet & Sour Chicken with Rice, Nakd Bar, Fruit Pastells
Wildlife: 4 Snakes and 0 Bears
Health: 0 Blisters, a few aches and pains after a 24 mile day!
The PCT continues to surprise me, unfortunately not always in a positive way. The biggest surprise is once again how ridiculously friggin’ cold it is at night! I struggle to get moving and motivated. Hot oatmeal and coffee helps. As usual I set off wearing my happy jacket (it’s actually my down jacket, but I refuse to call it that because it seems too sad, and puffy jacket … well that just sounds gay). Anyway, within about 30 minutes I’m sweltering and have to stop and take everything off. I have been hiking the PCT for over 2 weeks now and I can categorically tell you that I have been temperature “comfortable” for all of about 10 mins … This is another somewhat unpleasant surprise for me, but I am learning to accept!
So today was another downhill affair. Basically we would be following Deep Creek all the way to the end of its life. It was a stunning clear, blue sky day and the water sparkled invitingly in the gorge below. However, the trail clung to a ledge high up above and it was alarmingly dry compared to the oasis beneath. From time to time we would cross the creek on a high bridge and for reasons that remain unclear it seemed essential to take a photo on every single one … By the third one I was becoming more creative with the pose!Today also marked one of those big mile markers … 300 done! Another big number today was for snakes. I saw three and the fourth I heard and was very grateful not to have seen. A bit after the lunch time shoe off I rounded a bend to find a very sheepish Chance … “Watch your step here Hollywood” … I could barely make out what he was saying above the racket! It seems Chance had almost stood on a Rattler and needless to say really pissed him off in the process. Thankfully Mr Snake had retreated to a bit of bush but the volume and ferocity of his rattle suggested I give him a wide berth. I scrambled over some rocks and hurried onwards.
Another first today for me was taking a swim. Thankfully the trail did eventually drop down to the water at a very popular hot spring. This area is frequented by locals as well as thru-hikers. In fact it is a popular “naturalist” spot. As is so often the case with these things it seemed full of old men with their meat and two veg hanging about. I had conjured a somewhat undesirable mental image of hot dog water and so decided to pass on the hot spring. However, a little further along the creek we came upon an accessible pool and braved the colder waters for a refreshing dip. The photo shows Chance cooling off … The photo of me is significantly less flattering!
When the beautiful creek finally came to an end we were left with a long and dry final few miles to reach a camp near water. The Hiker Flash made it too and we enjoyed a most convivial trail family dinner. The night was warm … Finally!