PCT Mile 517
I have been amazed by the variety of country we’ve traveled through. 21 dry, hot miles uphill from Cajon Pass, down into the sweet little town of Wrightwood with cool temperatures. Up to the summit of Mt Baden-Powell and a camp site to myself in the pines and cool at 8400′. Had to observe and go around a trail closure to protect those cute and endangered Mountain Yellow-Legged Frogs that Bubba Gump and Ranger had shown me.
Carrying 5 liters of water on a daily basis adds quite a bit of weight and work to my day. In fact, this whole PCT thru-hiking deal is arduous. It’s like running a No. 2 shovel all day, day after day, hiking is hard physical labor. Or running a marathon every day. I am blown away by this army of filthy, stinky, happy, generous, friendly, kind, joyful hikers of all ages. These are athletes. No uniforms, no contests, no pretense. We are all just walking north.
Got snowed on, then got First Tracks the next morning trudging through the evil Poodle Dog Bush, which can give you a rash like poison oak, but without any treatments. The bush colonizes burn areas, a lot of which we’ve been passing through.
Stayed at the Anderson’s, trail angels in appropriately named Green Valley, what a trip. Then another long roadwalk around a fire closure ( trail a mess I guess), and up to a lovely campground where I found Puff Puff, Growler and Cool Breeze. We were soon joined by Recon. There was supposed to be a water tank there but none of us could find it, so by the morning I didn’t have enough water to make a cup of coffee. That is a dire situation. I threw my stuff in my pack and took off before the rest were out of their tents. 5 miles later I found a cistern with a little opening in the concrete top and a few inches of water 12′ below. I was engaged in a laborious process of dipping a weighted bag on a line to gather a liter of water when the others walked up. Recon observed the process and said, “I have half a liter, I think I’ll go to the next water.” Cool Breeze climbed on top and peered into the cistern. “There’s a dead animal in there. Maybe a fox. Or a cat.” I said something like, “Well I’m going to make coffee and eat my breakfast.” Puff Puff and Growler just looked at me, did I detect a certain amount of alarm in those looks?
Later, I caught up with them all and commented, “That was the best Dead Cat Water Coffee I’ve ever had.” As hiking goes, a few miles later, as he passed me, Cool Breeze kind of nodded politely and said, “Catwater.”
Bingo. Trail name. And I can’t stop laughing about it. Gross, disgusting, unique, funny story. Perfect. Although it is very odd to keep a straight face, so I don’t, when Cypress introduces me to other hikers as, not Alison, but Catwater.