5/8 – 5/11/14
Mileage driven 268
Fierce & Angry Winds
Late and lost again. We don’t know how it keeps happening. We missed the freeway turn off for Highway 2. We left home an hour later than we wanted to. We were meeting Anita, our sister-in-law, at Mill Creek Summit Station. She was going to drive us to Gobblers Knob where she dropped us off last November. We completely missed Mill Creek and drove right past it. LUCKILY, Anita was already there as we drove right past her and she was able to text us to turn around.
We took the turn off towards Clyde Ranch, and we had Anita let us out about two miles from the Gobbler’s Knob turn-off. The road is full of ruts and holes and we were all concerned about the car. We both felt a little moody about hiking the broken gravel road. But eventually, we made it to the top and met up with PCT mile 356.2, and we were happy again!
We were able to get in 8.8 trail miles. It was full of redwood trees. It reminded us of our Big Bear hike. We had a bit of a climb but it wasn’t too bad. The weather wasn’t bad either.
But then the winds came. OMG those Winds!
That first night we camped at Guffy Campground. There was one other camper in a tent but who drove in on Lytle Creek Road, we think. The plan was to make a hot meal and move on. It was getting windy and the winds were cold. Patti literally could not feel her fingers. We managed to get the little esbit stove going but any further fire in the pit was a joke. We pitched our tent behind some trees hoping to cut some of the wind. It was amazing how much warmer it was once we got inside. Despite the help of a sleep aide, the winds kept us up all night. We were up at out the next morning by 6:00.
Pains and Secondary Fun
Sleepy-eyed and wind-swept, we began the next morning approaching Mount Baden-Powell. It’s just a little hill that goes up 4000 feet in 4 miles, 9300+ at the summit. We met a group of thru-hikers. They were counting the switchbacks and had a bet on how many there were. Patti was the closet at a gazillion.
Pains from aging and hiking were creeping in. Patti’s hip hurt with every step. My shoulders and neck hurt. Why do we do this? Sometimes we just feel some aches and pains. But, oh yeah. We do this because it’s fun. We joked maybe it’s secondary fun. It isn’t fun until you’re done and can talk about it!
By the way, real answer is 47. 47 switchbacks in four miles. But it rewards with a spectacular view on top!
We camped at mile 379.25, a great camp site noted on neither Guthook nor Half-mile. It was just below the ridge away from the high winds. We saw a gorgeous sunset. The place was peaceful, nestled in the center of a few redwoods. Our feet were dying and it didn’t take long to just crash.
Our 4-mile impropriety?
We hit Eagles Roost picnic area the following afternoon. We moved on to a portion of the PCT that is closed to protect an endangered frog (no comment). This required walking 4.9-miles to Burkhart Trail Head, PCT mile 494, including 2.7 miles of road walk. Never fun. One woman generously pulled over when we were at Highway 2 crossing and asked if we wanted a ride to Burkhart. We declined. We wanted to finish at least walking to Eagles Roost and we were in the middle of a hot lunch. When we met up with the cut off, we were again offered a ride to Burkhart.
We declined again. In the beginning we wanted to be purists and step every part of the trail. But we were already being taken off the real trail with this bypass. So, we threw up our thumbs and a nice couple pulled over. We got dropped off at what we thought was Burkhart, but it was at mile 498 at the Hwy 2 crossing number-too-many-to-count, and off we went, four miles ahead of schedule. By the way, hikers of the PCT run passed, parallel and over Highway 2 six times. It’s forever-there.
Those winds again!
We hiked down a valley, soft dirt paths mixed with rocky terrains. We stopped at 401 mile, again just another random spot. The winds kept us company all night long and at one point nearly blew our fly off.
Because of our error yesterday, we were closer to our car at Mill Creek. While 17.3-miles was a push, we both thought well, maybe we can do it.
The next day we had more hills to climb. What made it worse were these ridiculous winds. It was everywhere, in every direction. Maybe 25-30 miles consistently with gusts of 40 mph. There were a few times when we were blown off the trail. Despite the winds, we got to the car in 10 hours. For us, that’s hauling. We planned for five days and it took four. It was encouraging to know we could do it if we had to. Normally we feel like we are off like a herd of turtles.
We didn’t meet as many thru-hikers as we did last year. But we did meet Pilgrim, Sockpot, and All Day Long. Meeting All Day Long showed again what a small community the PCT is. He met us on the trail, asked our names. We made small talk. At Mill Creek he and Lynn got to talking. All Day had an “aha” moment after we left each other earlier when he wondered if Patti was the Glow in the Dark the hike was for last year. Turns out it hit close to him as his wife had died two years earlier from cancer. He also knew and hiked with UB at the beginning of his hike this year. We gave All Day a glow stick. He told us he actually was going to get one and do his own glow hike at Hiker Town. That means a lot.
We collected water at Guffy, Grassy Hollow Visitors Center, Lily Spring, Little Jimmy and Fountainhead Spring. The water at Little Jimmy was spectacularly clean, clear and cold and we did not filter. We filtered all other water collected just to be safe.