Little Jimmy Spring- to mile 407 (sulphur springs)
I was in a deep sleep, dreaming about teaching yoga when I heard voices talking. I awoke to find Meredith and Postholer packing up at 5:37. It was 43 degrees out. No bears had visited during the night. I took my foodbag over to the picnic table and ate breakfast there. It turns out that the sidepath I started down but that everyone thought lead nowhere was indeed the spring. So we all had to walk back to collect water. It turned out to be a lovely spring! I carried the water back to a picnic table closer to the trail and the big group of thru-hikers to filter the water. There, a man who was out for the weekend put out a trash bag so we could dump anything we were finished with. How nice! He then began talking about watermelon seeds being the natural cure for giardia, but that it was very tough to find a watermelon with seeds in it these days because the drug companies want us to be dependent on them. I felt like it was significant to be hearing this and very interesting that I was at the right place and the right time to do so. Hmmmm….
I hit the trail at 7:07, descending switchbacks to a road and then making my way back up into the mountains.
A few hours later, I had reached a picnic area at the start of the endangered species detour where a road walk was set up to bypass a 10 mile section of the PCT in order to protect the frogs in the area. I found Meredith and Elizabeth at the picnic table and joined them as I snacked. Meredith’s husband was providing support for her along her hike and was coming by to transport her up the road to avoid the detour section. Elizabeth and another hiker decided to skip the section as well. I decided to hike the regular trail, as my friend that had hiked last year said that he had not taken any of the detours. A couple of other guys made the same decision as me.
The trail was quite overgrown and there were a lot of fallen trees to step over, making the hiking slow. There were several nice water sources along the way, though. When I reached the main creek, I found Postholer and “The Kid” relaxing. Postholer said that I shouldn’t be on this part of the trail and I quickly said, “Neither should you!” An Asian couple with a big white dog came down to the creek from the other side. The dog got wet and then came right over to us, eager to share our food. The owners didn’t say anything. I headed back up the trail and met a father and his toddler son. The man asked me if there was anything of interest ahead. The only thing I could think of was the creek. He seemed happy enough with that. The trail didn’t seem to be marked as closed from this side.
Ahead, I reached a dirt road and didn’t see where the trail continued. I started up an obvious path and turned on my GPS to make sure this was correct. In fact, it was not. So, I backtracked and eventually found the PCT across the road. The miles seemed to drag on. I got hungry and found a rock to sit on while I ate my disgusting packet of tuna, followed by a Snickers bar as my reward. Archie, Leftovers, and Anastacia passed by. It wasn’t long before I found them resting on the trail right beside the number ‘400’ spelled out with rocks! “We didn’t make it very far,” they said. I was lucky to have people nearby to take my picture at this milestone.
I soon reached the Camp Glenwood water source and found a few other hikers gathered there. Everyone seemed tired. It turned out that the water from the pump was incredibly warm, which was not thirst-quenching! As more hikers came in, I said, “I hope you like warm water!”.
It turned out that I wasn’t the only one to have gotten confused at the road. Bambi had taken the other trail to the top of the climb until there was no longer a trail and had to turn around. It had cost him four hours.
As I continued, the inside of my right calf started hurting. The more I walked, the more the pain grew and it started to worry me. I decided to listen to some music to give my mind something different to focus on. My mood was becoming more internal. I found a place to sit down at a bend in the trail and my arms took the shape of a cradle as my body swayed from side to side. I had never done anything like that before and wondered if it was my mother’s spirit descending down to me in remorse, or if it was a symbol from myself of needing to be my own caregiver. I stood up and continued on. I saw Postholer in front of me, seemingly wanting to interact. I didn’t know why he wanted to say something to me, but it turned out that he wanted to point out a trunk full of trail magic under a tree that I might not have seen! I had never seen anything like it before!
It was huge and filled with carrots and apples and bananas! Goodness! Even though I always feel pressed to make miles, I sat down and ate a banana. It helped lift my spirits. Fresh fruit on the trail is the greatest gift! My calf was still hurting. Archie and Anastasia came by, looking for a place to go to the bathroom. It turned out that just up the hill, there was an outhouse! Wow!
Another little treat.
I caught up to and passed Postholer as I started looking for a place to end the day. As I climbed along a ridge, I could see a flat area down below. It looked like there were picnic tables below. I wondered if I should backtrack and take the Stock route to get down there. Postholer came along and I pointed the area out. He also wanted to camp there. I was surprised that he didn’t know about this area after having had hiked this part of the trail many times before! We found a sandy area where we could camp, but it wasn’t what I had seen from above. I went to take a look and came back to tell him that there was an even bigger area with picnic tables across the way. We chose opposite ends of the area to camp in. I made use of the picnic table to eat my dinner and cowboy camped next to it.
I calculated that with the days off, I was averaging 15 miles a day, and that I would need to average 18 per day if I wanted to reach Canada by September 20th. Today had been a tough day and I hoped my calf would feel better in the morning!
(It was 52.5 degrees at 8:46pm)