Blog Archive

Monday, November 17, 2014

Into the Clouds

Day 143 11/2
Mileage 23
Camped at mile 187.8

Today started wonderfully, with coffee and a morning temperature that was far more reasonable than what we've been experiencing. The Bear was incredibly helpful, and he really made us reluctant to leave. He and Ziggy were so wonderfully friendly and such genuinely nice people that we could have stayed with them for days. However, there were mountains to climb, and we set off, a bit stiff after yesterday, ready to tackle the largest continuous climb on the PCT. This climb is legendary, and it delivered. Just before we started the middle section of the climb, we were caught by Stef and Ricky! Yay! Sobo party! Then, we hit the hill. We switchbacked endlessly, winding higher and higher, inching toward the green ridge that towered far above us, below the cloud-shrouded summit. The whole mountain looked like a little island of high Sierra in the midst of the desert. As we approached the ridge, the vegetation became more and more reminiscent of the Sierra as well. Halfway up the mountain, I found a large knife on the ground and shortly after, saw a group of hunters to whom the knife belonged. I returned the knife, and they offered me orange slices and some tequila. Nice group of guys. They didn't quite believe that I was just walking for fun, I think. It became progressively cooler as the day waned, and soon we were stepping through piles of ice in the trail. The smell was different, too. Instead of the dusty smell of the desert, it had that cold, crisp, pine smell that reminds me of fall and winter in the Sierra. We hiked on through the cloud, then into the dark as night fell. We're camped at 8500 feet, over 7000 feet higher than last night. This means cold. Cold cold cold. Time for foodpillow. I filled ziplocs with air and put them in my stuff sack. Pretty ingenious, I think. Tomorrow, we're taking a nero (near-zero) in Idyllwild, hopefully someplace that has a hot tub.

Mt San Jacinto, from afar

Where we were yesterday

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