PCT Day 18: Shifting Winds

Today we were out by 8:44. I was low on water, but thankfully found some a mile down the trail. I don’t like running low on water. Dehydration scares me.

We crossed Highway 4 at Ebbetts Pass about a mile and half into our day, where we entered the Mokelumne Wilderness. Sadly we found no trail magic, just a nice family waiting to meet up with their son hiking the PCT. No dark beer anywhere in sight. Sigh.

Easy, interesting trail is how I would characterize the day.

We hiked through rock, forest and meadow terrain, passing by a few little lakes, too. At one point I heard cowbells in the distance, just like in Switzerland.

It's a new day on the PCT.
A new day on the PCT.
Crazy cool rock formation.
Crazy cool rock formation.
Fish Nugget waiting for me by Highway 4, making sure I don't get lost.
Fish Nugget waiting for me by Highway 4, making sure I didn’t get lost.
Entering Mokelumne Wilderness, such interesting terrain.
Entering Mokelumne Wilderness, such interesting terrain.

My feet didn’t hurt so much today, until the very end. My left heel, kind of sore, did an extra bonus mile for a total of 11. Thank you, sweet feet!

Watering up at a small stream, I ran into Icky, an older lady like me.

She was doing the PCT this year in huge sections, six weeks in the desert this spring and weeklong sections of the Sierra over the summer. She got her trail name by camping somewhere in the desert in the dark, in what turned out to be some known toilet area in the bushes. Fortunately, she didn’t have any issues, but the name stuck.

Sherrold Lake, an easy little day hike.
Sherrold Lake, an easy little day hike from Ebbetts Pass.
Kinney Lake, we'll be headed around that mountain in the distance.
Passing Kinney Lake, we’ll be headed around that big mountain in the distance.
Trail between the views.
Trail between the views.
The scenery changes yet again, loving all the variety on this trail.
The scenery changes yet again, loving all the variety on this trail.

A nurse from Gardnerville, Icky was very talkative. She’d been hiking with girlfriends for the past week but had to hike on ahead to make it back to work in a couple days. Apparently her friends were pretty pokey, getting out of camp at ten or eleven in the morning and hiking just a few miles before calling it a day. Icky worried that they might run out of food if they weren’t careful.

It’s shallow, but I was kind of glad to hear about people slower than me.

We hiked on and off together for a bit, though, of course, she was naturally faster and ended up going on ahead after I stopped to rest with the girls for a while.

Looking back at how far we've come, we walked through all of that.
Looking back at how far we’ve come, we walked through all of that.
What's left to say? So pretty.
What’s left to say? So pretty.
So many layers of green.
So many layers of green.
Squarepants and Fish Nugget ahead on the trail.
Squarepants and Fish Nugget ahead on the trail.

Overall it was a good day, though I did hobble through the end of it again. Coming up to our planned campsite at mile 1058, I realized that I was probably looking at Gardnerville in the distance, which might mean actual cell service.

Checking my phone, I had bars but no coverage with my crappy T-mobile.

Squarepants, however, had it all with Verizon. She was able to call home and talk to her mom, a relief, as she’d been worried about not reaching her the last time she called.

Other hikers came up the trail, saw what was going on and whipped out their phones, excited to discover actual reception. Everyone stopped on the trail for it, kind of funny, like kids in a candy store, frozen in delight with treasure in their hands.

Here's a view I don't see every day.
Here’s a view you don’t see every day.
Looking toward Nevada, I love seeing the backside of these mountains.
Looking toward Nevada, I love seeing the backsides of these mountains.
Icky on the trail ahead of us, working on a 14 mile day!
Icky on the trail ahead of us, working on a 14 mile day!
Fish Nugget picking her cuticles, she'll never stop!
Fish Nugget picking her cuticles, she’ll never stop.

We found some nice, level spots in the trees nearby where we camped for the night. Icky later showed up and set up next door, though I’m not sure how we got ahead of her. She came over around dinnertime and chatted with us for a while.

A big party of thru-hikers also camped in the vicinity, but fortunately they were far enough away to not to be a bother, even though they were a little loud.

Random, cool winds blew through the trees all night long. The sound would come up the hillside from below, blow through the pines above, then trail off down the mountain. Then it’d be quiet for a few minutes, before starting all over again.

I loved listening to it, but I was glad to have earplugs when it was time for bed.

We were getting close to Tahoe, I could feel it.

30 Days on the PCT
Day 18: July 20, mile 1058
Looking back at how far we've come, we walked through all of that.
Fish Nugget and Squarepants, hamming it up.
Yours truly, looking mighty campy!
Yours truly, looking mighty campy!