a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL
starts with a single step.
Miles 679.6 to 690.1 (10.5 Miles) Lost in the Woods Camp to Mesa Creek Camp
The alarm wakes us at 6am but we pretend not to hear it. Leave us alone! Our bodies are aching so bad, we were (ok, I was) cold all night despite the hot water bottle, the liner in the sleeping bag and it being June!!! But that‘s what you get for sleeping surrounded by snow. Our tent surrounded by a big cold white fridge. So alarm, leave us alone, we need to sleep some more today.
At 6.45am we finally manage to get up somehow. Our calves are hurting like hell! Hiking in snow is so incredibly exhausting! And it‘s most likely not going to get better today either as we will be staying above 6000 ft almost the entire time.
Ok, we are now ready to attack, but first let‘s find the trail. Found it! Awesome, off to a good start! The trail soon leads us out of the woods, thank you very much, and onto a beautiful snow covered meadow. Meanwhile the Middle Sister (or is it already the South sister?) makes an impressive appearance. Well, hello there beautiful!
The snow is still frozen and easy to walk on. The beauty surrounding us makes it easy for us to actually enjoy this morning. Sure it‘s exhausting, calves are already burning, but the silence, except for the snow crunching beneath our micro spikes - krch krch krch - is meditative, the fresh air so healthy and the sun already there to greet us. We feel like we are the only people on the planet right now. This part of the PCT will be crowded in a couple of weeks from now, and we‘ve got it all to ourselves.
After about 2 hours, or 3 miles - yes, the going is very slow - we stop for breakfast in the most amazing spot. One of the sisters (talking about the mountains here) is straight ahead of us, the sun is shining in our faces and warming us. We hang our sweaty clothes and shoes out to dry and have a delicious breakfast with the usual: oatmeal, toast with mayonnaise, cenovis, mustard, cheese and summer sausage, coffee and hot chocolate. Life is good.
After an hour we finally take off again. We still hike on either snow covered meadows or in snow covered forest. Yes, we haven‘t seen the trail since yesterday morning. Yes, it‘s annoying and quite challenging to keep following the one set of foot steps of our unknown hiker friend and continuously check on our Guthooks app if we are still on the right track. I hike with my ice axe in the left and with my phone in the right hand, a trekking pole lose around my right hand wrist. Not exactly professional mountaineering style. I probably look quite ridiculous. Dario is always about 50 metres ahead of me, following the foot steps or adjusting his direction based on what I tell him from Guthook. He postholes quite a bit, falling or sinking deep into the snow. I actually think by now the score of who fell more times is even, if not in favor of Dario. ;-)
Suddenly we hear a voice! Crunchmaster, a hiker we‘ve been in touch with regarding this section is standing down there! We‘ve been expecting to run into him any minute now because we knew he was coming towards us from the south. Before we started this section we tried to find out about the snow conditions and to see whether there were going to be others hikers in this area, for safety reasons. So there he is! Crunchmaster from Tennessee is on his third attempt to thruhike the PCT this year, and has already successfully hiked the PCT twice, as well in 2018, but we never ran into him last year. We tell each other all about the upcoming parts and he assures us that it’s not too bad for the next 20 miles, but that the trail will still be covered in snow for most of the time. So nothing new there. We talk for about 20 minutes, make him promise to come visit us in Switzerland. And off we are, back in the woods, but only for another half an hour and now with an additional set of tracks to follow, yaaaay!
It finally gets easier, less traversing in steep forest slopes and around trees. We are back in a beautiful plain and finally in lower terrain. Hello trail! It's good to actually see you again!!! We take a short lunch break to stuff our mouths with Sour patches and Twix. We aren't really hungry, but need the calories, the energy. We pass a burnt area, encounter some ski tracks, but slowly make our way down the mountain with the help of our microspikes, ice axe and most importantly, our trustworthy Guthook app. Thank god for Guthook. We finally reach the valley bottom, it's only 4pm but we decide to call it a day. There is another ascent coming up and we don't want to risk having to sleep on snow. Plus, tomorrow morning the snow on the ascent will still be frozen. Plus, this meadow is beautiful!
We find a lovely and dry spot to pitch our tent, right next to the Mesa creek. The sun is shining right into our tent, it feels warm and cozy. We make a pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes for dinner and go to sleep at about 8pm, what an exhausting, but beautiful day!