Today was beautiful but hard and long. But I saw a marmot so everything was ok! I couldn’t manage to get a picture of it before it hid under a rock, so I snapped a couple of a curious pika instead.
I left camp fairly late, as there was no real rush and it was cold out. Hiking in the morning is pretty chilly, and the contours of the trail wreak havoc with homeostasis. Heading downhill through the forest I need to put on a sweater, and then take it off as soon as the trail heads upwards. However the early morning mist and sunshine make for beautiful views even inside the forest, with shafts of sunlight slanting through the trees to the trail below. Out in the open it’s just as pretty; pink leaves edged with silvery frost and fractured puddles with shards of ice.
The muddy and rocky trail made for hard work, and some big climbs reminded me of the Sierra. These are long, sustained climbs over several miles, with a gradient around 500ft a mile. Not hard but long enough to be tiring. The ridges do make for some spectacular views though.
This afternoon’s climb took me along the side of a hill with wide open vistas which made it difficult to concentrate on the ground underfoot. This was unfortunately necessary as the trail was very narrow and unstable. It was even marked as unsuitable for horses, very unusual for the PCT. This part of the trail marked the 2,500 mile point, but there was no space to manoeuvre to get a photo of myself so a shot of the marker itself had to suffice.
Only Foxtrot passed me early on and I saw no one else until the end of the day when I met a German lady hiking with her American friend. They ended up camping at the same spot by Baekos Creek that I’ve picked. Not the best, as it’s damp and shaded so things will be a little soggy in the morning, but it’s sheltered from the wind.
Camping: Mile 2520, Baekos Creek