“Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit.” – Edward Abbey
June 15 – 942 to 947 (5 miles)
June 16 – 947 to 967 (20 miles)
June 17 – 967 to 988 (21 miles)
June 18 – 988 to 1012 (24 miles)
June 19 – 1012 to 1034 (22 miles)
June 20 – 1034 to 1059 (25 miles)
June 21 – 1059 to 1084 (25 miles)
June 22 – 1084 to 1095 (11 miles)
Ants. Marching.EVERYWHERE. In our tent. That was an interesting way to wake up!
Apparently the1-inch hole in the netting in our tent is enough to let hundreds (no joke) of ants into the tent. We pitched our tent off in the woods just outside of a parking lot in Yosemite Valley the night before. We decided we would prefer not to pay who knows how much for a pitching site surrounded by loud tourists who – aghast! – stay up past 9pm. We opted for a fairly illegal, but incredibly quiet and cozy private spot. But them woods were infested with ants!! It took us a good half hour to clear them out.
Yosemite valley was so hard to leave behind. It was fun having hot food handed to me, and fresh coffee conveniently placed in a paper cup (and it stays hot forever!) and to overall chill in a ridiculously scenic area.
We eventually hitched back to Tuoloumne Meadows. It took us about 20 minutes or so. We tried our best to look clean and inviting…and not homeless and sketchy. We got picked up by Patrick, who happened to be driving the sickest Volkswagon ever. He works for the government doing field work in the park studying frogs. Lorax and him geeked out for a while on wildlife conservation and such topics. He was awesome.
And…we are seriously considering buying a touring van of our own. It’s currently our favourite trail topic – probably not gonna happen, but it’s fun to dream…
Upon reaching our beloved trail we call home, we hiked 5 miles and set up camp. It was a gorgeous evening of reading, cooking dinner, and watching one of the best sunsets.
The following day took us 20 miles over Benson pass to a beautiful meadow campsite. It was another gorgeous day – not sure what else to say!! We’re nearing the end of the high Sierra’s now – just 50 or so miles to go – so we’re savouring the last of the alpine for a while.
June 17th was a tough one. Upon chatting with other PCT’ers throughout the day, the general consensus seemed to be that the miles were challenging. We did several ascents and descents, and the bugs are starting to get awful. When Lorax and I started ascending the second pass of the day, I was in low spirits. My “energy fuel tank” was near empty…and my feet were dragging. Luckily we were surrounded by towering granite monoliths, the kind that Yosemite Park is famous for. Huge, spectacular, magnificent cliffs, and ancient, all-knowing trees – yet, it was the wildflowers that spoke to my heart. The tiny, seemingly insignificant flowers, that had so much to say…fuel for my soul.
We also hiked with Early Bee, who just so happens to be from Victoria BC! We asked him all our questions about the island, and got some awesome insider information, as we are moving there this fall.
June 18th was a very significant day for Lorax and I. It marked our two month anniversary on the trail, as well as the 1000 mile mark!! THAT. IS. INSANE.
While it was a glorious occasion, I found myself slightly put off by the bench mark. 1000 miles is far…but it got me realizing how much FURTHER we have to hike. 1000 down, but 1660 to go. Now, having been through 1000 miles of walking, I know good and well what that sort of mileage entails – fatigue, muscle soreness, hunger, lack of motivation at times, just to name a few. Don’t get me wrong…I love this adventure, and I know this is a great opportunity, and I’m really proud to be a part of it. But it’s hard! And some days I just don’t want to hike. I miss my dog, and I want to cozy up a place in Victoria and start that chapter of our lives.
But I hike. That is my current existence. Lorax saw that I was feeling down, so we had a great chat about motivation. He’s noticed that some days I just don’t have that spark in my eye. He reminded me how happy the mountains and the marmots and trees and flowers and EVERYTHING “nature” makes me. He reminded me how strong we are getting, both physically and mentally. He reminded me that this is a character builder…and that doesn’t always come easy!
I’m not sharing this to complain or to make the impression that I’m not happy or enjoying myself. I’m only saying it because these are my “growing pains.” I love life. I want to live in the moment and embrace NOW, as opposed to focusing on what’s next.
Now is beautiful. Now is mine. Now is LIVING.
So after the little pep-talk, T-Fox was back. We were no longer hiking in Yosemite, but were in The Hoover Wilderness. It is spectacular!! We would rank it up there with top 3 days for views. We went over Señora Pass, waving good-bye to the High Sierra’s in the distance.
June 19 continued to amaze with views. Hiking with this much to look at and enjoy is so much easier…
On June 20th we saw our first bear on the trip! We’ve seen several bears before, but none on this trip. He was terrified of us, even though he was a decent size – he just galloped away the instant he saw us.
By the end of the day, we decided to press on for 25 miles so we could get to town sooner in a few days. This often happens at the end of a stretch of hiking…all we can think about is how much time we can sit and relax in town. If we push the miles…we get there sooner! We came across some PCTA trail crew volunteers who were clearing a log off the trail – Jan, John and Bill. Jan hiked the PCT in sections during the summers of 1980 to 1983. What a different experience that would have been in the early 80’s!! We talked for a while, and she gave me a little “girl to girl” pep-talk. We even got to help push the log off the trail. These are the unsung heros of the PCT…thank you so much crew!
This is long, so here’s pictures from the next couple days.
When we reached Echo Lake resort on June 22nd, we were stoked to get to town. We were picked up from the first car to pass, and got a hitch to South Lake Tahoe. We are not relaxing much, as we had 25 days of food to purchase and mail ahead to different destinations, but it’s still great to be away from mosquito and high mileage.
Our friend Mikki is meeting us in a couple hours to hang out! Hopefully she will be able to hike with us soon – her bag is packed!