Day 44: When Cold, Grey Days Are Awesome

We’re on the single driest stretch of the entire PCT right now, which means it’s actually wonderful when it’s cold, grey, and foggy all day long — it keeps you from sweating too much, which means you don’t have to carry as much water. We’ve had two nineteen-mile stretches in a row between water sources, and there’s a 31-mile stretch coming up in another day or so that will push our water carrying capacity to the limit — for me, that means 8.5 liters of water, which weighs something north of eighteen pounds. Believe me, you can feel how much that adds to your pack…every single step of the way.

Apparently this is also one of the least eventful stretches of the trail, too, because I struggle to come up with pretty much anything that actually happened today. The trail circled round and round low mountain peaks, rolling up and down; we hiked it all day long, breaking for lunch in an area without much wind, and we passed even more wind turbines. Heck, we didn’t even actually see much of anybody. We really only ran into one person all day long, a guy from Italy named Cinque Terre, who somehow managed to stuff two weeks of food in his pack at once and was rewarded with a 75-pound pack. (For the non-hikers reading this, 75 pounds is out of “extremely heavy” territory and into “ludicrous”.) He’s a super-sweet guy and determined to hike the PCT from near Los Angeles to Yosemite, so I certainly hope we see him in the future…hopefully carrying a lot less weight.

We continue to keep in mind the fast-approaching Kennedy Meadows, and our entrance to the Sierra. I look forward to it more and more with each passing day. The desert has been an adventure, but Big Mountains and Beautiful Lakes are one of the best parts of hiking this trail, and that’s exactly what we’re coming up on. We’re also going to have to start doing things like being bear-safe (which will probably mean cooking dinner, then hiking another hour before we camp, as well as storing our food in bear-safe containers away from our camp)…these things make it feel like real mountain hiking to me. Only another week or so, and we’ll be there!

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