a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL
starts with a single step.
Miles 1180 to 1198 (18 Miles) Fitzhugh Gulch camp to Little Trees camp
We know, that the trail will take us 13 miles all uphill to the top of a mountain. Knowing what will await us, our motivation isn't as high as it could be and we sleep in until 06:30. At least the annoying mozzies are still asleep and don't attack us from all sides.
At 7am we are ready to go. The climbing starts in around 3 miles. Until there, the terrain is rather easy and not too steep, but it is always in the woods and the air is still fresh and cold. After a while we warm up and soon reach a lovely camp spot next to a quite big and noisy river, where we have breakfast. I prepare breakfast, in the meantime Maya goes down to the river bed to collect more water.
After some time she comes back and the expression on her face tells me right away that something happend. Then I see it, her shoes are completely soaked. She tells me that she had slipped on one of those super slippery rocks and nearly fell into the river. Luckily she was able to prevent that from happening, but her shoes still got wet! I didn't hear a thing because of the constant and loud noise from the river. By now the sun is out and Maya dries her shoes and wet socks in the sun.
After half an hour we continue and the climbing really starts now. But suddenly Maya realizes that she is not wearing her sunglasses anymore. And they are important out here when you are exposed to the sun all day long. Shit! They must have fallen off her head when she nearly fell into the river. That means hiking one mile down again, looking for those glasses and then climbing up again...But what can you do? It reminds me of when I lost my glasses right in the beginning of Washington. I had no clue where they would be and had to hike back for 2.5 miles, so 5 miles round trip!
So Maya starts her sunglass rescue mission and is back within 20 minutes, her sunglasses on her head. Very good! So now we continue our climb. It is a very exhausting 9 miles climb, temperatures are high today, it is a bit humid as well - a happy day in a mozzie's life and at the same time a not so happy one for us.
We both listen to audiobooks, that helps to distract us from all that climbing. Maya is attentively listening to Michelle Obama's biography called "Becoming" while I'm listening to the Ken Follet's second book of his century saga called "Winter of the World", which I totally recommend to anyone interested in history. Other than that not a lot is happening while we climb. At some point we see some deer, the usual amount of deer and then we are on top of this fucker. Here we take a smaller break, eating M&M, salted pretzel sticks and sour patches. We see some more NOBOs (hikers hiking the opposite direction of us, thus from south to north). They all warn us about an allegedly major snow patch coming up in about 10 miles from here. We have heard several stories about this stretch, most of the people are warning us, some even told us to take an alternate route on an overgrown dirt road while others tell us that the snow wasn't a problem at all... So again, all is relative and since we already hiked around 40 miles in harsh snow conditions without there being anyone else in this section, we are not too concerned about the upcoming snow. And after all, that's not a problem for today, let future Maya and Dario handle that.
From our break at the top of the mountain it now is 5 more miles to our designated camp site. It now is more or less flat (it is still the PCT, apparently real flat doesn't exist on this trail), but it still takes us a bit more than two hours to reach the camp spot, since we need water and therefore have to go off trail to collect it from a small creek.
For dinner we have pasta and watch two deer searching for salt (they usually get attracted by our sweaty trekking poles) right next to us. Then we call it a day and fall into a deep sleep...