Mach 20, Day 10.
PCT mile 144, Table Mountain
This morning was the coldest on trail. It was 40 degrees when I woke up in the bunk house, after a rather restless night. I seem to be much more alert at the faintest of noises since starting this trip, so I wake up easily. Khalil and I were sharing the bunk house and every time he would roll over I would hear him and wake up.
Around 6:30, Tom came in to let us know breakfast was ready. I had been awake since 530, but hadn’t wanted to get up due to the temperature. Now having a reason to get up, it didn’t seem as cold. Funny how hot coffee and warm food will do that for you,
We both got dressed and walked over the to house. Upon entered we were greeted by the smell of Chorizo and Eggs, and were overcome with a sensation I haven’t felt first thing in the morning in 10 days…. Warmth. It was quite toasty in the house.
Tom joined us for breakfast and the conversation flowed from the trail, to his place in Kennedy Meadows, and to the snow pack in the Sierra. Contrary to some of the reports I have seen, Tom indicated the Sierra had an average year of snow.
After Khalil and I finished our first plate of food, Tom said, “Don’t be shy, I know hikers. Go get more.”
We both had a second helping. When we finished we were both pretty stuffed to the gills. At this point it was around 745 and time to hit the trail. The sun had come up and warmed the landscape to make for a pleasant morning walk.
The next water source was 10 miles away, so we both took on 3 liters of water. In usual fashion, within 10 minutes, Khalil was out of sight. At 5’5 and 100 pounds he moves down the trail effortlessly.
Around 930, I met two new thru hikers. A couple named Magoo and Magee. They were just tearing down camp, so I stopped and chatted for a few minutes. I have learned I need little reason to take a little break.
They are from Portland via San Francisco and San Diego, Very nice people. After a few minutes of chatting I hit the trail.
Around 1030 I took a little break to “do some paperwork” and Magoo and Magee passed me. I was off the trail in the bushes, so they didn’t realize it.
About 30 minutes later I caught up to them and we hiked together until the next water stop, Tule Spring. Conversation flowed naturally. It was nice to hike with people at my natural pace. I had yet to experience that on trail. Magoo is a writer and editor. Magee is a massage therapist. Their banter between one and another is one perfected over time. Later I learned they had been together 13 years.
Having their fill of water, they were back on trail leaving me behind. They had said they would likely camp at mile 140, or may potentially go on to 144. I stayed behind a few minutes to attend to my feet and stretch a little.
About 1245 I hit the trail again. I hiked alone until a particularly hard stretch. We climbed roughly 1200 feet over the course of a couple miles. The afternoon heat was in full effect and was sapping my energy reserves.
Magoo and Magee stopped to take a break and i had chugged on. As a result I caught up with them shortly before we summited the ridge line. We were roughly 2 miles from Mile 144 and agreed we would all camp there.
After dropping off the ridge line, we saw a sign for a water cache a mile ahead. Having just enough water to make it to Paradise Valley Cafe, I was hopeful there would be water at the cache. Having “enough” water and having plenty of water are 2 very different things.
Enough means, I won’t die of dehydration, but I cant drink as I wish. Plenty of water is self explanatory.
We arrived to a newly replenished cache. I immediately drank a liter of water I had been carrying and filled the bottle. I also refilled a bottle I had drank most of on the ascent. It was a nice treat after a grueling and hot afternoon.
The effects of dehydration and fatigue were evident in Magee. As she went to fill her bottle, she opened the valve on the water jug only to realize the cap was still on her bottle and water spilled on the ground. We all got a big chuckle out of that.
Magoo was filling out the hiker log at right next to the water cache and Magee was trying to get to the next jug in the water cache. With Magoo standing right next to it, Magee quips in a particularly thick English accent, “would you mind taking a step back, we’ve only got the whole fucking desert here.”
I roared with laughter. Again, banter between a couple that develops over time. Couples newly together would have been offended. After a time, you learn when you spouse is having a fun and you take it in stride.
We took some pictures standing in front of the water cache, which displayed a sign saying PCT Class of 2015. It was my first non-selfie on the trail.
As they were loading up, I pushed, of course up a steep grade, the remaining mile to our home for the evening, campsites among huge boulders overlooking the town of Anza.
We had dinner together and shared some goodies. I shared some dehydrated peaches I had made over the winter. Magee, being english, always has a cup of tea after dinner. She offered me one as well.
After chatting a bit, I asked if they were burners. Sure enough they are. They attended burning man in 2009 and 2011. They just seemed to have that vibe.
Today was a 17 miler. Another great day hiking, another great day meeting new and interesting people.