Day 104, august 6th
Start: camp near spring, mile 2350
End: camp at mile 2379
Miles hiked: 29
The group is up and out early. Myself included. I hike out with carrot, discussing the end of the trip and feelings about how close we are to being finished. What will life be like after? Will I miss this pct experience, and be very depressed after the trail? I think I’ll miss it, for sure, but I’m too excited about the AT with Andrea to be super sad about it. More than anything, I’ll miss our group, and all the fun we have together. The tough part will be going back to the real world, and dealing with the stresses of another busy season. Thankfully that’s not imminent, and I repress those feelings; for now.
As we’re talking, I hear a trip behind me and turn to see carrot face first on the ground, blood gushing from somewhere. I quickly take off my shirt to hand to her for the blood, but she asks for a rag. I take her pee rag, and dip it in her water bottle to help wipe the blood off of her – stupid. Her face is covered in blood and dirt, and she thinks she may have broken her nose. After much blood and cleaning, it doesn’t look broken, just jolted a bit. I’ve never seen such a bloody nose. I’ve broken mine, and it didn’t even bleed, so this surprised me. I help carrot clean all of the blood off of herself, and she’s able to laugh it off and keep hiking just fine, although her face swells up quite a bit.
The whole group gets together at Ulrich Hut, a ski cabin in the wilderness. We eat, drink, and chat up about the day and where we want to get to before everyone heads out. I stay a bit later, enjoying the meadow all to myself, watching the strong dog start to dissipate as the sun rises higher and stronger.
Later in the day I find the whole group sitting near a dirt road, with coolers and chairs! Trail magic!! It’s a good boost of morale, full of soda, and every awesome snack imaginable. I down a mtn dew, and about 12 fruit snacks. Seriously. And sit with Guthrie carrot and crispies as the others hike on. Soon I’m off myself, climbing up and down steeply on a forested ridge, high on caffeine and sugar.
A few hours later I see a car, and the entire group sitting next to another dirt road with a nice couple who knows handy Andy. They have brought lasagna, tamales, fresh fruit, avacados, tons of chocolate, and a plethora of drinks. Today is turning into the best day on the trail ever! We’re all hanging out for a good hour, and I shove lasagna into my face the entire time. The generosity of trail angels is just amazing. This day hasn’t been the most scenic (not ugly, just not as breathtaking as the day prior) and could easily just be another 30 mile day. But due to all the trail magic and camaraderie that comes with it, it’s been a very memorable day! I still find it so humbling and uplifting to see the generosity of others. Generosity that we do not warrant or deserve by any means. It’s been a joy on this trail, and something I hope to pay forward when I’m done hiking.
There’s only six miles to camp, and I hike out with handy Andy, racing to keep up with him on a big climb. We talk about hiking the cdt next year, and reasons we want to do that trail. It sounds exciting, adventurous, and surely is a step up from the pct in terms of how difficult it is. We’re both hungry for the challenge, and excited at the prospect of hiking it.
The whole group camps on an overgrown logging road. We get there at six, so we have plenty of time to socialize. We all sit in a circle and play the word game we’ve all been obsessed with.
“Two syllables. First word is a plant that we can all see. Second is a ranger…”
Woody pulls some theatrics by walking on his knees with his legs crossed and kicking his head from various positions. Dude is unreal. We all retire to our damp sleeping bags, moist from the fog that’s rolling in. It’s been doing this every night, fog rolling in. It’s kept the nights warm!