Miles walked: 15.1
|Chicken Spring Lake|
When we got going again, I lagged behind the group until I started eating like crazy. After inhaling 400 calories of almonds, I caught up with Chilly Bin. We were walking together when we saw Ziploc’s pack in the trail. This is usually a sign that the hiker is off trail going to the bathroom. I joked that as we walk by that we should just yell “I see you!” even though we had no idea where Ziploc was. So Chilly Bin did exactly that right as we walked by. Ziploc popped up from behind a boulder quickly pulling her pants up and laughing.
Around 11:30 am the four of us again discussed our concern that we hadn’t seen Opera, Peanut Butter, or Tapeworm for a day and a half. We agreed to stop and wait for them even if it meant we would have to take an extra day and thereby causing our need to ration food even more than we were already. This also allowed us to wait for Kate, which I knew was behind us at this point.
|left to right: Ziploc, HoosierDaddy, Circus Act, Chilly Bin|
We stopped around mile 756 and sat in various patches of shade, and moved occasionally as the sun infiltrated our shady spots. We waited for four hours. We occupied the time with music, jokes, conversations, and the occasional nap. After we ate, I farted and apologized to the group. Then came the funniest quote of the day. Ziploc responded to my apology by saying “I am also pooping.” As soon as she said it she realized her German to English translation was off slightly, but HoosierDaddy, Chilly Bin, and I were already in fits of laughter. We all knew what she meant to say. Ziploc even managed to laugh at herself this time too.
Around 2:30 pm we received news from a couple of hikers that they had seen our friends a few miles back at Chicken Spring Lake. This was good news for us to know that they were just taking their time and not injured or something.
We agreed to wait another hour and then proceed to the next water source almost five miles further.
At 3:30 pm we still hadn’t seen anyone so we hiked down to Rock Creek where we avoided having to ford this creek by crossing on a dead log upstream a ways.
After crossing, we agreed to push onward to Guyot Creek to get a brutally steep 900 foot climb out of the way before tomorrow. I went into my climbing uphill mode and powered up this 900 feet in about 30 minutes. I was drenched in sweat when I reached the top. The others rolled in one by one and we setup camp. As I was filtering water, I saw Kate crossing the creek about 50 feet away. I couldn’t believe it. I ran over and said “Hi” and she glanced my way and said “Hello”, and briefly she didn’t recognize me. A second later she did and she smiled and we hugged. The odds of us meeting here were so unlikely, yet it happened on her first day on trail. She has planned her JMT trip to start on June 2nd and I had started hiking the PCT on April 19th. And somehow, we met at exactly mile 761.8 of my hike 45 days later. It really was nothing short of perfect timing.
I introduced her to my trail family and she fit in right away. We sat in a circle and ate dinner together. I could tell Kate was tired. She had a long first day with over 4000 feet of elevation gain. On the flip side, I had done one of my shortest days in a while and rested while hanging out with my good friends for a long memorable afternoon in the California sun.