I put on a clean, dry pair of socks this morning. My feet were 100% dry... for about three minutes. I had the option of fording a lake inlet or rock hopping. I chose the latter. The rocks were spaced such that maybe a NBA player could have hopped these with ease, but I’m 5’ 7”1. I slipped off a rock and ended up thigh high in the lake. So much for my dry feet.
I smirked, because what a better way to start a long day of hiking than falling into a lake.
Mile 900 was on the radar this morning, and I hiked with a purpose, which is still slower than most people. I hiked by Purple Lake, which is so poorly named. I was then on a trail that meandered through the trees for much of the rest of the day.
All morning I was considering quitting the PCT because it’s really hard on me mentally. When I saw the rocks spelling “900” laid out on the side of the trail, I thought of my daughter.
Clipped to my pack for every adventure I have been on since my daughter was age two is a plastic bracelet that she made for me. It’s faded now, but it has beads that read “Delaney ❤️ Dad”. This bracelet has now made it over 900 miles on the PCT. This bracelet was also with me for the entire Colorado Trail. It was on my pack last year for the hike I did with my Dad of the WRT. It has been on my pack for hundreds of hikes and climbs of 14ers & 13ers in Colorado. It’s been there through post-holing, falls off logs into creeks, 60 mph freezing winds on Mt Lady Washington, a glissade of the Refrigerator Couloir, bushwhacking a 26 mile day across the Gore range, a fall down a few ledges in the Red Gully on Crestone Peak, so many gnarly ridge traverses, and many other crazy times. One might think a plastic bracelet clipped to the outside of a pack wouldn’t last this long. But it’s still there, and as long as it’s still there, I’ll still be hiking the PCT.
Butterflies have been circling me off and on for three days now. Big yellow Monarch butterflies. My friends this morning were these butterflies and of course the Chesse-Burg-Er birds that I like to whistle at.
I realized today that my next resupply is at Tuolumne Meadows Post Office, which is closed Sunday which was the day I thought I’d be arriving. This forced a change of plans. I would hike my ass off today and Friday just to make it to the post office before it closes at 1:00 pm on Saturday.
After about nine miles, I was sitting on the side of the trail eating lunch and using a cell signal for the first time in a long time when, to my surprise, Ziploc came hiking down the trail. I used this opportunity to apologize, but it sort of fell on deaf ears, because I’d been an asshole. I guess sometimes bridges that are burned remain burnt. I ultimately packed up, said goodbye, and hiked for another fifteen miles. I only stopped briefly to get water or take sand out of my shoes.
I hiked through a burn area just before the junction to Red’s Meadow Resort. I hiked right past the junction with no interest in having a shower or a burger. I just wanted to crush miles today. I started making a mental bucket list of places I want to see before I die. One of the places not on that list is Minaret Falls, but damn for waterfall lovers, this is a must see. Pictures don’t do it justice.
For several miles I was surrounded by thick forest, only briefly broken by a small meadow or pond. I also hiked through the Devils Postpile National Monument, which was sort of a letdown. After entering the Ansel Adams Wilderness, aspens and thick pines grew together like long lost friends.
I hiked to a solo campsite and watched the sunset while eating Ramen Noodles, Pecans, Cheese & Crackers, and the rest of the Oreos.
I tried to imagine what it is I’m hoping to get out of hiking the PCT. I still have no idea why I’m out here.
1. - editor's note: You are NOT 5' 7". I didn't know if you made a typo or were trying to be like a NBA player and lie about your height.