Day 78 (July 7): PCT Mile 1,331.3 – 1,350.3

On the Trail Again

Beginning Elevation = 5,050
Peak Elevation = 6,250
Ending Elevation = 5,650
Weather: high 70’s, mostly sunny

I slept quite soundly and let myself stay in my sleeping bag until around 7:00am. Then, it was packing my pack for the trail, something I haven’t done in about two weeks. Not having a bear can, ice axe, or micro-spikes helped with the space and weight (I’d sent these items home with the fam)! Once I was ready for action, I hauled it on and walked down the road once again to the Kopper Kettle Restaurant (I’d visited last night for dinner) for some breakfast and Women’s World Cup Final action.

I sat at the “bar” directly in front of the large tele on the wall. The place was pretty empty at first, but by the end of the game, it was packed. I had a great time feasting on my waffle, eggs, and bacon with the coffee being re-filled about every 7 minutes and watching the game with a few fellow interested customers. Towards the end I had three fellow fans who were quite into it: Tony from the Bay area, a lady whose son is currently hiking in the Alps, and a little guy, maybe 10 years old, who is the restaurant owners grandson and watched during glances up from his iPad Pokemon game.

Hooray for Rose Lavelle, Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Ashlyn Harris and the rest of squad! I hadn’t watched much of the prior games, but this team is awesome! They had incredible ball control and their passing was on point, but the main thing they got going is their fierceness. Relentless pressure and hustle! Super cool to see them get the W!

Ok, so after that lovely experience, I grabbed my pack and began walking down the road attempting to get a hitch. It didn’t take long before a large pickup truck pulled over for me! My driver was a lady who occasional brings a cooler full of beer to the trail crossing. Today, she was on her way to pick it up when she saw me. We also got another hiker, a French guy named Burgandy, who I had met way back in the southern California desert.

After thanking my driver, extending my trekking poles back out again, and making some last strap adjustments, I started hiking the PCT once again! It was around 10:30am at that time. It felt really good to be going again! It helped that the scenery was great, big tall pines, and the trail flat with no snow!

For a little recap…I’ve now skipped about a 500 mile section of the trail and am restarting going north at about the half way mark of the trail. I plan to continue north all the way to the U.S./Canada border, then somehow get back to this point and finish the final 500 miles going south!

I made good time right away, about 3 miles/hour, and got to see new flowers, rocks (volcanic!), and such…

I took a lunch break around 12:45pm and set my tent out to dry as well. It would’ve been quite relaxing in the shade of the big trees except for the army of giant carpenter ants invading my sitting pad. I was on constant watch for intruders.

After lunch, I knocked out some more miles, again with lovely scenes around every turn of the trail.

I think this snow covered one is Lassen Peak, but not positive.

I had planned to hike around 15 miles today and get to Boundary Spring, named so because it’s at the edge of Lassen Volcanic National Park. The park requires the use of a bear canister if camping in the backcountry, so I had planned to hike the whole 19 miles across it tomorrow since I’d sent mine home. My plans changed though, when I came across a southbound hiker, who said she’d seen a bear just around the last turn. I like bears and all, but not too keen on camping so near to them.

Plan B involved hiking an additional 4 miles to a campground with a bear box. I wasn’t trying to be a hero by hiking the 19 miles on day 1 back on trail, but as Bruce Almighty likes say, “that’s the way the cookie crumbles.” I was pretty inspired by the U.S. Women’s Team performance earlier in the day too, so maybe that helped. And that it was super beautiful in the park and with some crazy volcanic viewing side trips!

I made it to the Warner Valley Campground at 8:00pm. I found a group of hikers there who’d camped in the church’s backyard with me and so joined them at their spot. It’s $16/night to camp here, but we split the site between 8 hikers, so I just had to contribute $2. After a quick setup, I made my dinner and mainly listened to the chatter amongst the group. I also enjoyed listening to the ukulele played by a hiker named Bolo! I recognized one of his tunes as being one of the Eddie Vedder songs from the “Into the Wild” soundtrack.

It was getting dark when I was packing up my food and placing it within the bear box. Then, into the tents and quiet! I didn’t last long, I was whipped!

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