Day 85: Into the Smokey Marble Mountains

July 11, 2017

Total daily miles: 15.5 miles

Total PCT miles: 1205.7

Start: Etna (mile 1597.2)

End: mile 1612.6

Total elevation gain/loss: 2905.8/2411.1 ft

Sleeping in is glorious! I think I made it to almost 8am this morning before the sunlight hit my tent and it started to heat up quickly. I think that my body really needed that extra sleep!

We packed up quickly and then enjoyed a breakfast of fresh fruit and muffins that we’d picked up from the grocery store. A nice change from fig bars and pop tarts! The pavilion area at the city park really is an ideal spot to hang out and I have to admit that I was surprised how easy it was to get quiet time for myself while staying at the park.  

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Day 82: Breakfast Disaster Turned Lunch Surprise 

July 8, 2017

Total daily miles: 22.6 miles

Total PCT miles: 1162.9

Start: mile 1547.1

End: mile 1569.8

Total elevation gain/loss: 3470.1/2934.7 ft

Today did not start well. We awoke to a swarm of mosquitoes outside our tent. In my rush to get moving (and away from the blood suckers), I accidentally dumped my Welches strawberry peach drink mix into my chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast drink (instead of instant coffee). The result was horrifically sweet. I attempted to water it down, but it was still horrible. Just my luck. After attempting to swallow a few swigs, I decided to carry it out to the campground that we’d be passing about 10 miles in that reported had a privy that I could dump it into. Leave no trace!

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Day 81: NorCal Deja Vu

July 7, 2017

Total daily miles: 26.1 miles

Total PCT miles: 1140.2 miles

Start: Lake Helen (0.6 miles off PCT mile 1521.0)

End: mile 1547.1

Total elevation gain/loss: 2957.7/2949.1 ft

The morning colors on Lake Helen were gorgeous this morning. Such a beautiful sight to wake up to!

The trail this morning was once again exposed with sweeping views of the surrounding area. The trail stayed close to the ridge line and out of the forests that we’d become accustomed to on the trail between Burney and Castella. I started to regret my decision to switch to a t-shirt instead of my long sleeved shirt. Despite my efforts to apply sunscreen yesterday and this morning, I was worrying that my arms were getting pink too quickly. Continue reading

Day 80: Castle Crag Views

July 6, 2017

Total daily miles: 22.4 miles

Total PCT miles: 1114.1 miles

Start: Castle Crags State Park Campground (mile 1498.7)

End: Lake Helen (0.6 miles off PCT mile 1521.0)

Total elevation gain/loss: 6570.5/1958.7 ft

Our plans to get up at 4:30 this morning quickly devolved to 5am. I’m not sure why we keep trying.

We decided to try hitching to the trailhead instead of walking the 2.5 miles along the road. When we got to the store/gas station our chances weren’t looking good. I guess it was too early in the morning for tons of people to be out and about. We decided to wait for one more car… and it picked us up! The driver was up to try a hike from the same trailhead, so it worked out perfectly!

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Day 78: Fourth of July Push to Castella

July 4, 2017

Total daily miles: 19.3 miles

Total PCT miles: 1091.8 miles

Start: mile 1479.4

End: Castle Crags State Park Campground (mile 1498.7)

Total elevation gain/loss: 3902.2/4940 ft

We were up and out of camp before the other hikers were up. We immediately stopped to grab more water and then headed downhill to Squaw Valley Creek. The morning was relatively cool and we stayed in the shade for the first couple hours.

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Day 77: Big Descents For Big Miles

July 3, 2017

Total daily miles: 27.8 miles

Total PCT miles: 1072.5 miles

Start: mile 1450.6

End: mile 1479.4

Total elevation gain/loss: 4600.7/7112.9 ft

What a long day — I’m exhausted! We spent the morning walking along the hillside, which was fairly exposed but awarded us with some awesome views. We skipped the first water source of the day (and in 10 miles) because it was off trail and we still had enough water to get us a couple miles further to a small spring flowing across the trail. What can I say, we’re lazy!

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Day 76: Bears!

July 2, 2017

Total daily miles: 23.7 miles

Total PCT miles: 1043.7 miles

Start: mile 1427.9

End: mile 1450.6

Total elevation gain/loss: 4013.1/3171.9 ft

We started the morning hiking in trees and heavy brush again. The brush really slows me down and disrupts my hiking rhythm — especially the bushes with thorns!

The trail is in there somewhere…

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