Day 33 (May 10): PCT Mile 395.2 – 411.8

Through the Dementor Breeding Grounds

Beginning Elevation = 6,200
Low/Peak Elevations = 5,250/7,000
Ending Elevation = 6,700
Weather: Rainand fog, cold

There is an ancient Mesopotamian saying, “The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup.” I found this piece of wisdom to be full of truth on this particular morning. Around 6:00am, I opened my tent zipper to find a cold, misty morning. The ground was wet, my tent fly was wet, and my shoes/socks that I’d left out were wet. I clambered back into my sleeping bag.

I spent some time on my phone updating log posts for the past two days that I hadn’t completed yet. I then made my coffee and oatmeal right in my tent vestibule space (between my actual tent and rain fly). Eventually, I got my motivation up and packed things up. It began raining lightly right as I had pulled everything out of the tent. Sweet. It actually wasn’t so bad, I was somewhat protected underneath the giant trees above. I took a picture of camp before I took my tent down.Around 9:00am, after assembling my bright pink rain cover over my pack, I began my trek. I wasn’t even the last one out of camp either. Eric and Jill were still set up, likely avoiding the weather too. Very soon into my walk, I had to stop. My GPS was in one of the pockets on my belt strap which wasn’t covered by the rain cover. Rather than risk it getting wet, I placed it inside to a more protected location. Then, onward to keep moving and get warmed up!

Despite the rain and fog, I was in pretty good spirits. I felt as though there were dementors all around, bringing the chill and mist to the air, but Sumi acted as my patronus and kept the despair and gloom away (for you non-Harry Potter reading folks, you’ll just have to trust me that I’m not losing it)! Many things were just slightly different because of the rain and quite beautiful because of it…I also got this tune stuck in my head and couldn’t figure it out at first what it was from for a while. Extra credit to you if you guess it…

At least in my head that’s what I now remember the theme from MacGuyver being. Anyway, soon after this video I came across this odd thing. It seems like it’s the start of one of those yucca plants, but most I’ve seen seem to begin as those spiky ball things before the asparagus thing pops up. So maybe an entirely different species? That was all very technical Flora jargin.

I crossed Highway 2 multiple times again.

And I caught up to 3 Bean and Foxtail. We crossed the 400 mile marker together (actually there were 4 different stone creations like this).

I was still too embarrassed to ask them to join me in my celebratory video, but maybe next time!

At 11:30am, I came across this beautiful site!I was cold and hungry and loved the idea of finding a dry spot. So I pulled my sleeping pad out and sat on the porch to have an early lunch. My double portion of beef flavored ramen noodles and a second cup of coffee really hit the spot. I also had company. Two hikers, Sunny from The Netherlands and Ent from Switzerland, joined me on the porch. Sunny got a kick out of Holland, Michigan and the Tulip Festival when I told her about it.

3 Bean and Foxtail also showed up, but were a bit disappointed. They have plans to get off-trail to stay with a sister, and had hoped to get an earlier pick-up due to the weather, but the road closure struck again, preventing any cars to reach them. They’d have to go with their original plan and get picked up up tomorrow, further up the trail.

I was first to continue hiking again. The rain had pretty much stopped, so I was able to go without my pack cover. I also switched out my wet gloves (probs going to need to buy some water proof ones) to my “sun gloves,” which was really nice. Soon, I reached this parking area and said goodbye to Highway 2 finally.

We thru-hikers never miss an opportunity to get rid of extra weight…I learned about forks in the road from Amelia Bedelia, but still had to consult my Guthook’s app when both trails had the PCT sticker on them.

Left is right, right is wrong. I figured out that the right trail goes to a camp specifically for those traveling with horses. Just after this, I passed on this water source (yes, those are Tadpoles).Towards the end of the day the trail was going up and all of a sudden the Poodle-Dog Bush was everywhere! It had long stems that reached out towards the trail trying to attack unsuspecting hikers. I didn’t rule out the possibility that it was actually some Venomous Tentacula that some muggle-baiter had transplanted along the trail (I’m just full of the HP references today).

I reached a spot to put my tent around 5:30pm just as it began raining steadily again. I did my best to go quick, but a lot of stuff got a little wet.It was cozy once in the dry tent though.

Hoping tomorrow is sunny, but we shall see!

8 thoughts on “Day 33 (May 10): PCT Mile 395.2 – 411.8

  1. Ok mike 400 how you doin?!!!! Best celebration to date. I was literally laughing out loud. I am learning many things from you brother as well as other fellow hikers. Even when conditions are not ideal, a positive outlook can will you onward. I believe that when you are in theory “the small one” in the realm of your surroundings, finding joy in the “small” things becomes a joyful reality. You’re killing it out there bro. Keep it up.


  2. Ruth Prins

    I LOVED the celebratory dance!! You have some skills, Steve!
    I am hoping that someday in the coming 100 mile markers we get to see a group dance. That will be evidence of growing self assurance, confidence, and friendships. 😉


  3. Emily Brittenham

    Definitely laughed out loud watching the celebratory dance 😂 Love it!

    I enjoyed the HP references 😊 (although the mention of dementors is definitely chilling!) Just finished Chamber of Secrets with Claire last night. Evelyn finished Prisoner of Azkaban last week and really wants to move on, but I’m having mixed feelings… Not sure if she’s too young. Thoughts?


  4. Jim Nydam

    The plant species your discovered is the very rare “snow flower” or “snow plant”. For some technical jargon, Sarcodes is the monotypes genus of the north west American flowering springtime plant in the health family. Yo put it simply, it is a fungus that attaches to plant roots. The cool thing about the plant is that it provides nutrients back to the plant it attaches to.


  5. Luke Medema

    Great job on the MacGuyver…I was all proud for guessing it before scrolling down to see you said it. So kudos to your whistling skillz! Pretty cool that even the gloomy days bring their own type of beauty out there for you.


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