Day 53 - soda creek road to west trough creek
May 19 | SOBO Miles: 1151-1171
After our almost-marathon, we woke up yesterday to an angry sky and 40° temps, along with some seriously debilitating muscle pain. With rain scheduled to fall all day long, we made the call to take another day off. It was a wise one–even just the walk to town from our host’s home was enough to chill me completely to the bone.
As it rained cats and dogs, we meandered around the grocery store and then Store Brand and I loitered at Burger King for a few hours (I got a $1 ice cream cone and 2 free coffees so I was technically a ‘customer’) watching Thor: Ragnarok on Netflix while Trash Can went to the library. We reconvened at the house to polish off the last of the leftovers, play some chess, and watch more Netflix before we all passed out.
This morning we set out around 9 after giving our hosts big hugs and even bigger thanks. Then came a slow 2 mile roadwalk through the rain to the highway on-ramp, where we danced around for 45 minutes begging for a hitch (at one point we even waved a $10 bill in the air as bait... no dice). Finally a nice old dude named Trailbreaker who section hikes the PCT pulled up and offered us a ride. Hopefully everyone who turned us down was at least thoroughly entertained.
We hit the trail again right where we’d begun our run two days prior, this time actually setting foot on the PCT for the first time in what felt like many many moons. The soft pine needle-laden dirt was kind to my heels and arches, which had taken a beating from all the pavement walking. The trail snuck upwards so gradually–in spite of the 2000+ feet of vertical gain–that it barely felt like an incline. Mist obscured any and all vistas so it felt like we were walking through a cloudy sea of trees. A cool change of pace, though I couldn’t feel my hands.
Around lunch the sky started to clear and the sun peeked out. HALLELUJAH. We hit the snow line and shortly thereafter saw quite a few bear tracks paving the way ahead of us. Bears are big early season PCTers–it’s well known.
We got some amazing views of the aptly named Castle Crags, which look like a warlock’s lair, and little Shastina, which we’d been eyeing all along our roadwalk last week. Some snowball fights ensued as we padded through the slushy, wet, heavy snow, but the afternoon was otherwise calm and clear. We dipped down by the rushing Squaw Valley Creek and were treated to some warm air amidst a green pine forest.
Camp for the night is a little spot tucked away in the trees near a seasonal stream. It’s chilly, but I’m grateful to have a dry shelter for the night. We were really blessed with a spectacular afternoon that redeemed the ominous, cold, wet morning. All in all, a great first day back on the long strip of dirt that brought us here.