4/15-19/21 84 miles (4 nights)
The road to the CDT monument at the border is much improved from 2017 when I rode out with the Ravens. Dion (Buddy Backpacker’s dad) of Crazy Cook Shuttles picked up me and 2 other hikers at 6 am. I think I was hiking by 9 am, planning to camp at Water Cache #1, like we did last time, after about 14 miles.
One of my goals in hiking this hellish stretch again was to learn from my mistakes. Day 1, I made three mistakes, but one I fixed, and another was kind of fortuitous. The first mistake was leaving my sandwich in the motel refer. The second was forgetting to test my Guthook map app. Duh. Couldn’t find my little GOS arrow on the map. Asked another hiker, problem solved. The third was when I set up camp and realized I’d packed the wrong sleeping pad, a Big Agnes that is divinely comfortable but heavy and bulky. But I hydrated like crazy all day and felt fine. Way different than 2017.
Super windy camping at Water Cache #1, with a bunch of people including a group from Warrior Expeditions, combat vets. Way more hikers this year but still fewer than the 50 that start the PCT each day.
From Water Cache #1, I took the gravel road rather than climbing back up to the “red route” in Guthook that goes post to post. It was simple, tedious, but reasonably quick walking. I felt better today—exhausted from carrying 5L of water from MP 25.2 to a beautiful, sandy dry campsite.
Day 3 I felt even better, walked a ways with retirees Beth and John that I met the first day. They’ve biked the trail and Baja and other cool places, this is their first long distance hike though. It’s especially nice to have another woman in my general age range out here, women are definitely in the minority in the wave of hikers I find myself in. It’s easier walking today, but that means monotonous. So people at water sources are a big excitement: Kyle, Tinman, Grey Goose, Jazz Hands and trail angel Cheshire Cat and his dog Stella Blue (I got a banana!). After yesterday’s water haul to camp, I decided to call it a day at a water source after 18.5 miles, another short day of walking just 7 am to 4 pm. It’s more or less dark at 8:30 pm.
The last night I camped with 15 miles left to Lordsburg as planned. What I didn’t anticipate was how quickly those miles went when you’re not suffering from heat exhaustion and have another hiker to chat with! Made it to my hotel by noon and got early check in, sweet!
The whole stretch has been so much cooler than last time, breezy and just lower temperatures. I’ve used my sun reflecting umbrella for shade several times but not constantly. So glad I made this section in good shape! I won’t need to zero, I’ll just get my burger and beer and head out in the morning.