The trail began with a 5 mile downhill section along the San Joaquin River. The river appeared to change its name without changing its course, it seemed to become the Piute Creek with no warning. I remembered similar comments about the streets in London.
The early morning sun and smell of woodsmoke played tricks on my imagination. I saw forest fires in my mind’s eye and thought of the Lake Fire which has affected Whitewater Preserve and closed a part of the PCT that I enjoyed immensely
Approaching the junction to Muir Trail Ranch, I began to have food fantasies, imagining them serving hot lunches which I could take a 1.5 mile detour for. I sat by the sign pointing down the hill towards the ranch reminding myself they don’t serve stinky hikers unless they clean up and stay overnight there, and eating a fig bar instead. Nearly the same.
We started to climb uphill in the sun, with no wind at all. The flat sections by Sallie Keyes Lake and Heart Lake provided recuperation time, and we were still making good time as the average altitude is lower here. I thought about how good we are looking good for when we come back down to 3,000-7,000 feet. We will be able to hike more easily or get through some massive miles. I’m feeling a bit like a hiking machine now.
It might be getting dull to report that once again there were wonderful views from the top of Selden Pass, and stunning lake walks for first couple of miles off the pass. But I haven’t gotten bored of it yet. I could sit and look at Alpine lakes all day, especially in the sunshine when they sparkle. They are incredibly blue, and incredibly clear, providing a view down to the rocky bottom and the jumping fish.
The lower part of each day in the forest means BUGS. So many bugs. DEET still seems to work on them but they bite through clothes and hair, and I feel them inside my shirt even though there’s often nothing there. They have bitten through a permethrin-treated shirt on a number of occasions, staining it with the blood they suck through the fabric. I swear they laugh in the face of anything less than 95% DEET. I just have to be careful not to handle things like the packet of tortillas after putting it on, as I end up with the wrapper dye all over me.
Bear Creek was similar to Evolution Creek; very hyped but in reality pretty easy this year. It’s the most feared ford on the PCT – much narrower than Evolution Creek but can be a lot wilder. Except there has been no snow so it wasn’t.
Camping: Mile 872