I was off to a somewhat late start today as I still had a couple of things on my in town to do list that I hadn’t done yet. After breakfast at the hotel and getting most of the things done, I had to figure out how to get back to the trail. I wasn’t particularly well positioned to hitch as people would be going in all kind of directions from there and it wouldn’t be easy to get in a better position. So I took the easy but expensive solution of getting a 22 mile “Lyft” (the Uber app was acting up). Three minutes after ordering the ride the car showed up and we drove off.
The driver was a younger Polish man, who had come to live in the US because of the better opportunities here compared to the chaos and crime ensuring after the fall of the communist regime. He said that the situation was good in Poland now and his friends were doing well back there. I asked what he missed the most about Poland, to which he answered that he didn’t really miss anything and he much preferred living here. He was actually an attorney but his girlfriend was out this weekend so he was trying to make some additional money. I asked if he had had any bad experiences as a driver, to which he answered that he hadn’t, but that he only drove in the daytime and thus avoided drunk people and people who had lost a lot of money in the casinos. He already knew about the PCT and had driven a bunch of hikers already. Having seen the bear proof trash bins in the town, I asked if he had had any bear encounters. He said that the bears often tried to get food from garbage containers or bins. Once, his mom was cooking salmon, which a bear had smelled and thus tried to open a couple of french doors to get to. She had to hold against so that it couldn’t open them until it ran away.
I thanked him for the ride and got back walking, which got me to Echo Lake, which apparently is a very popular weekend destination and resort. It was nice enough but nothing too out of the ordinary. There were also a ton of day/weekend hikers going to amongst others Aloha Lake. They outnumbered us wierdo through hikers by a factor ten or more. Hiking was thus not the solitary experience that it usually was. The “how are you “‘s and “have a good one”’s eventually turned somewhat perfunctory after the fiftieth time or so. However, it was of course nice to see so many people getting to experience the Pacific Crest Trail and nature in general. There was also a dad taking a picture of his perhaps twelve year daughter by a PCT symbol while saying “That the first picture of you and the Pacific Crest Trail, so that you will have it when you eventually decide to walk it”. He he 🙂
The trail up to Aloha Lake was quite rocky and somewhat steep, but the lake itself was nice. It was very long and shallow with little islands in it. I had lunch there, which is to say that I alternated between taking a bite of the tortillas that I had in my left hand and the one pound cheddar that I had in my right. I had bought a “water flavor enhancer”, which is popular amongst hikers and just like very concentrated liquid Kool Aid (Danish: saftevand), tasting of pears. It was nice but made me drink way too much water, so that I had to take a ton of pee breaks.
Anyways, the trail later brought me not only to Dicks Lake but also his pass. Getting up the latter was unproblematic and I had a break at the top. The views weren’t incredible, but it was a special experience as it was completely quiet and somewhat otherworldly up there. As expected there wasn’t much snow on the north side, but small patches here and there seemingly defied the well established melting point of water by remaining frozen in the warm water.
In the afternoon and evening the trail flattened out and became nicely soft and thus made for easier going. Around dusk the mosquitoes became quite bad. I would get stung a lot even when constantly moving. The DEET took care of legs and hands, but I really dislike the bug head net and not stopping up be my protection there. Shortly after sunset I reached my targeted camp site and thus making enough miles despite the late start. This was day one of hopefully four days in a hundred mile stretch that should bring me to Sierra City, which despite its name not really is in the Sierras, or at least not the central part thereof.