First Steps on the PCT

Our hike in June was great: beautiful and serene.  It was our first time on the PCT and kind of surreal.  I couldn’t believe we were actually on the trail. I was familiar with the landscape, but the beauty still awed me. We saw little wildlife, but many hikers passed us by.

We joined the PCT at the Boreal Ski resort and went south.  We went up and down and around.  We had to climb trees and skirt around them too.  We hiked 2.53 miles out and less back because we had difficulty with a large puddle and lost the trail going in.  We were headed right first, but when we didn’t see where to go, we tried what looked right and were led onto a large granite boulder.  From the boulder we couldn’t see the path but had a better idea of where it should be. We climbed down and skirted around it.  With this we found the trail and a sign right below where we had been on the boulder.  From there the trail wasn’t as hard to figure out.  The view on the way back was just as spectacular as on the way in.  Climbing the last few hills on the way back were grueling.  But we managed five miles and were stiff but ready to do this again.

We hiked in the snow off and on throughout the day.  The sun was hot and melted the snow quickly.  When we went in, the snow was firm and covered much of the trail in the shadier sections.  On our way back to the cars, the snow was softer and more of the trail was visible but muddy and wet.  The swollen streams had a musical note.  But what caught my attention the most were the hikers who passed us going both directions.

The day hikers were a different breed from the back packers who were a different breed from the through hiker.  Most of the day hikers we met were doing this for the exercise.  They seemed familiar with the path and were trying to just get it done.  They were plowing through with barely a hello.  Some of the backpackers were this way but most were friendlier.  There were people going both ways. We could identify them with bigger bags.  There was one group who were carrying big camping pads that took up a large expanse.  They had the mattresses strapped to their backs and were carrying their belongings in book bags or reusable grocery bags.  They were more about the comfort of the camping than they were of the hike.  They were a group who moved quickly without a hello.  Even the runners were nicer.  The through hiker was the nicest.  He had a more compact bag and seemed sure and determined, but didn’t mind a quick conversation.  He looked well-traveled but ready to go.  He didn’t’ look fresh like the others we met though.  There was also a couple with about six kids of similar age and varied races.  They started where we did and headed north the day before.  They were going to camp at a particular place, but it was too snowy, so they came south to hike today to get more distance.  They were the friendliest, and we passed each other multiple times.

At home when I was looking at the trail on TrackMyWalk, I realized that we were just short of Old Donner Pass Highway.  I am disappointed that I forgot about this, we could have had that section completed. Next time we could pick up where we left off by starting at the old highway hike north until we get to where we were then retrace and cross the highway and pick up the trail going south.  We want to do six or seven miles next time we hike going north from Echo Lake.  Now we just have to figure out when.

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