PCT Day 32

May 14, 2019
375.8 to mile 390.2, 14.4 PCT miles +.2 to summit Baden-Powell + 3.1 miles on an official PCT alternative to avoid a trail closure, 17.7 total
Running total: 415.4 miles
After eating breakfast in bed and helping Matthew take down the tent, I took off around 0730, anxious to tackle the steep climb and snowy summit. Since the others are really friggin fast, I knew it wouldn’t be long before they caught up with me, and I knew Arc had left earlier, so somebody was in front of me!

The morning started off with a bunch of switchbacks and pockets of snow, but as I climbed higher the snow became more abundant and the switchbacks just stopped- apparently the early trail blazers of the season figured it was easier to just climb straight up the mountain!

Just before throwing on my microspikes I was pleasantly surprised by these beautiful babies!!

Their human, Bobby, was a nice dude who just moved to the area from Newport Beach. He was excited to summit Baden-Powell for the first time, and randomly took a few pics of me!

Matt ended up catching up to me and we summited the mountain together as Arc cheered us on from the peak. Somehow there was no snow for the last 0.1 miles up!

Fun sidenote- this was Arc’s first peak and she rocked it!!

The others soon joined us, and after catching breaths and howling from the mountain top, we all enjoyed summit cookies and summit shots.

We took advantage of the little wind, surprisingly comfortable temperature, and beautiful views and ended up hanging out on the peak for nearly 2 hours- sculpting, smoking, stretching, snacking, and smirnoff-ing(thanks to Woodpecker’s mom!!)

“Don’t be crass, you can’t draw one! You must sculpt it!” -Yaara

It took a lot of motivation to get us moving again, but eventually we started the trek down. It was extremely slippery and slow-going, and I have confirmed that I will be hating the Sierras- snow hiking sucks!!! Ughh! But, with a beautiful day and beautiful friends it wasn’t toooo terrible.

At one point Woodpecker and She-Wee, who were leading our pack, realized we were off trail when they found themselves in quite the sketchy area, so we all decided to bushwhack up a steep but snow-free slope full of bushes to get back on trail. We found out later that we weren’t the only ones who followed the footsteps there- ugh, snow!!!

We finally made it out of snow and onto the ridge, where we had mostly dirt and a few patches of snow to maneuver through.

It took forever, but eventually we made it to the Little Jimmy Campground, where we had planned to have lunch.

We took another 2 hr lunch, thoroughly enjoying the sun and our snacks.

After lunch we had a really friggin steep climb up Mt. Williamson, chosing NOT to go off trail to completely summit it. I felt like I was getting punished for something- that climb was a bitch!!

Going down was even less fun- my knees do not like descents! And once down we happened upon Woodpecker and Big Mama, who pointed out the next section of trail- another steep ascent!! Matthew let out an expletive or two before we finished the last short but steep climb of the day.

The descent of that last climb let us off at the Eagle’s Roost picnic area, where we reconvened with our people. The PCT officially closes at this point, from mile 190.2 to mile 194, to protect the habitat of the endangered Mountain Yellow Legged frog.

We had to decide between staying at this picnic site, where we had pit toilets but no water source, or carry on 2.7 miles on the road to the Buckhorn Campground. We decided to eat dinner the Eagle’s Roost before road-walking to the campsite.

It ended up being a 3.1 mile walk to the campground in the dark, where we quickly set up our tents and prepped for bed. Although we didn’t hit terribly high mileage today, between the snow and the climbs we were all BEAT! We had earlier talked of trying to whip out a marathon tomorrow, but we decided that that would never happen…

Happiness is: warm sunshine on a mountain peak

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