Day 55, June 18
Start: Donner Pass, mile 1155
End: East Meadow Campground, mile 1186
Miles hiked: 31
Wake up early and hit the trail by 6:30 am. It’s pretty between Donner pass and highway I-80. I felt good leaving Donner pass. It was strange sleeping in a place where so many died, and ate each other. Just weird. The trail travelled over large rocks and boulders with views of lakes below the pass. Passes now are much different than they were in the sierras. Quite the opposite actually. Rather than passes being large climbs between mountains, they are low troughs in the trail where roads go through. So really, the passes are named for the roads, as they are high points in the highways. Usually the PCT is far above, and dips down from the mountain ridges to meet these passes.
Carrot and I leave a note for everyone; Guthrie, sheriff, not a chance, Mack, brainstorm, Twigg, lead dog, big sauce, wiki wiki, tiny, Bearclaw, dirt monger, coughee, and wildo (like Waldo, but will). We’re at the front of our group. How did this happen? A number of reasons, mostly the others like bigger stays in town.
The trail takes us steeply up, and onto some beautiful ridges. Today feels warmer than the last, despite the night dipping down to 20 degrees. There’s little wind, it’s fabulous. I’m so sick of the wind.
We get constant views of lakes in the distance from our perches high on the ridges. It’s beautiful. Everything in Northern California is so green! Guthrie catches up with us pretty quickly, and we all hike the afternoon together.
As we reach mile 27 for the day, we stop to catch a break, when a hiker comes flying up to us in a blur. He’s moving SO fast! As he gets closer, I can tell that it’s brainstorm. As I sit on a log, slouched over in pain from my worn out shoes, he stops his run to greet us.
“Man, you’re going fast!” I say to him.
“I feel fricken great! Just cruising. I’m loving this scenery!”
I wish I had that energy, I think to myself.
“Done about 33 miles today. If I make it to Sierra city it’ll be a 50. I’m hiking close to 4mph, so I think I’ll make it by midnight!” He says.
Unreal. Dude is a machine. We talk some more and he heads off, getting out of sight in a matter of seconds. Guthrie planned to camp here, but after seeing brainstorm, and knowing carrot and I planned 5 more miles, he decides he wants to hike on with us. At least someone got some of brainstorms enthusiasm!
We hike above a beautiful reservoir, Jackson meadows reservoir, I believe, for some time. The views through the pines are fantastic as the sun starts to set on the horizon. Guthrie, carrot and I reach henness pass road around 8, and decide to hike another half mile to a campground down the road. Carrot remembers it from last year, says it’s real nice, and it is. Packed with campers, but it’s nice. We see a dog, and go to pet it! I miss seeing dogs. The lady walking the dogs with her grandchildren asks of what we’re doing, and before we know it we’re invited to her camp to eat all her leftovers, and drink many pbr’s. Her whole family is there, daughters, grandchildren, pets. They’re all extremely nice, and interested in our hike. They definitely think we’re a bit crazy. We are. But they’re so nice to us, it’s unreal. Lasagna, loads of fresh fruits, beers, cookies! Beats the peanuts and mac’n cheese I planned. Plus good company from the outside world makes it great. We tell them that they are now ‘trail angels’ after taking care of us, and they love it. They love the sub culture that is created on the trail. Get a big click out of it. And when I think about it, it’s definitely a bit weird, and quirky. We say things like trailmance, trail angels, zeros, pink blazing, yellow blazing. We talk in mph, daily averages. We all obsess over calories, but in the opposite direction of most, only eating the highest calorie foods. We also talk a lot about the joys of towns, and most notably going to the bathroom. It just comes up all the time. And farting. Trail food makes you gassy, it’s a fact. We actually call Guthrie ‘intestinal McButtgass’. He came up with it himself, believe it or not.
We all head back to our cowboy camp station to sleep under the stars around 10pm. Our bellies full of delicious food. Only 12 miles into Sierra city tomorrow, and my feet couldn’t be happier to pick up new shoes there. I’m so happy. I want those shoes, probably could have used them 200 miles back.