May 17, 2016
Bushcamp (mile 643.7) to bushcamp (mile 653.8)
Miles: 9.4 (plus 0.7 mile hitch)
We woke up excited to get to Walker Pass Campground. Today was Andy’s dad’s birthday and they were coming to meet us.
We were walking by 6:30am and welcomed the refreshing morning air. The trail was mellow, weaving amongst pine trees and meadows with low brush. Rabbits ran across the trail in front of us and lucky for us it was too early for rattlesnakes!
Dark clouds covered mountains in the distance. A few drops fell on our heads but nothing major.
We descended 1700 ft down to the campground where we ran into a bunch of other campers. Brian was there with the best PCT support vehicle we have seen yet. His wife, Alta is hiking the trail and he finds dirt roads and campgrounds to meet her every few days. His set up and level of support was inspiring!
About 10 minutes after arriving at the campground it started to rain and then hail. We hurriedly put a tarp (courtesy of Brian of course) over a picnic table canopy and huddled together under the shelter. Fifteen minutes later is was sunny.
The weather continued like this all day. Threatening clouds, rain, wind and sun.
Andy’s parents pulled up in the familiar Super Shuttle and we ran to meet them with a happy birthday sign we had drawn on our Tyvek groundsheet.
Although Andy’s parents had come prepared with everything from 10 gallons of water, 5 courses of food, a clothes line and clothes pins, we decided to drive down to Lake Isabela to get service to upload our last 4 days worth of blog posts.
We anticipate minimal to no service for the next 10 days and wanted to keep our readers informed. We hope you didn’t worry too much!
We drove 3 other hikers the 35 miles into town and found a campground near the lake to set up a picnic.
By that time it was noon and we were all hungry. We enjoyed all the delicious fresh food too quickly. It all satisfied our food fantasies. Andy’s mom and aunt had prepared stuffed grape leaves (with rice), stuffed bell peppers (with quinoa, tofu, spinach and feta cheese), shredded chicken with grilled onions, potato salad, green salad and a cake. There were also mango, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.
After gorging ourselves we did laundry in a bucket and Laurie took a shower using the campground faucet. So classy!
It must have been a sight for cars driving by – a naked woman squatting in a bucket with a woman pouring water over her. Andy’s mom was having a lot of fun too!
We spent over an hour trying to upload our posts with pictures but it wouldn’t work. We finally got them uploaded but with minimal pictures. We’re hoping this doesn’t become a theme.
We then sorted through our food and switched out gear. In 3 days we enter the Sierras and from what we hear there is still a LOT of snow. We have microspikes and ice axes but are still nervous.
Our plan is to go one day at a time, listen to our guts and never put ourselves in danger. We have plenty of food and can always turn around if need be.
Once our bags were packed with bear cans, 4 liters of water, thicker long underwear and ice axe/whippet they were heavy! It is nice knowing that they will only get lighter.
From Walker Pass we have our last 20 mile water carry for a while and we are looking forward to loosing that water weight.
After a second meal and cake we got a ride back to Walker Pass. From here it was only 1.7 miles to our planned campsite. It was a long 1.7 miles with heavy packs and 900 ft of elevation gain.
We walked slowly as the sun faded. The alpine glow illuminated the desolate desert mountains around us. The clouds reflected a strong pinkish- orange glow. It felt magical.
Poor Andy was not feeling so hot. He had hiccups as he climbed which made it hard to breathe. He also had heartburn which made matters worse. Laurie giggled at the grunts Andy made as we slowly walked uphill. Andy didn’t mind though. He still loves her.
We liked hiking in the twilight hours. We especially enjoyed seeing our shadows courtesy of the moon.
At 8:30pm we found a flat spot on top of the ridge. We quickly set up the tent ans crawled in. The air was still and the moon was bright.
We are cozy in our sleeping bags, fortunate to be here and ready for another good night’s sleep.
Tonight we are grateful for cell phone reception and a loving family.