Pacific Crest Trail

Independence Day On My Own

Day 71

Today was the Fourth of July, which is a major US holiday. Two years ago I saw the fireworks in New York City, which was nice, but it is probably best known for the parades, barbecue and beer. Some people were staying behind to celebrate it, which probably would be nice, but it would also mean one less day to get to Canada before winter, and my legs were feeling like they wanted to go somewhere.

Therefore, I got up relatively early as there was a notoriously long ascent going out of Sierra City that I didn’t want to do in the heat. While packing up I spent a surprisingly long time looking for the pack to my tent. I took more or less everything out of the tent before finding it simply laying there. Oh well.

As there wasn’t any cars on the road, I just walked the 1.8 miles back to the trail and after that started the aforementioned ascent, which wasn’t bad at all as it wasn’t that steep. After the ascent on the other hand was a more irritating section as it was rocky and sometimes kind of narrow with slanting. So I was a bit slow in my going there.

I passed two hikers smoking weed and one of them stated that they were celebrating their independence with some 4 20, that is, weed. Weed is not allowed on federal property, but that is none of my business.

I later passed a day hiker and asked if you say happy Independence Day to each other like happy holidays et cetera. She said that the day was meaningless and that there was nothing to celebrate as Trump was president. The had come out here to forget about it all and enjoy nature. She asked if I didn’t enjoy the nature and I answered that I did but probably not with as much enthusiasm as she had imagined, but I had just been through the Sierras and today’s scenery paled in comparison. She had shown her daughter another part of the trail and were going to France to see the Tour de France along with her girlfriend.

While there wasn’t that much in terms of novel scenery, one slightly cool thing was that a bunch of trees had a lot of moss starting abruptly about siz feet from the ground. From what I have heard that demarcates where the snow reaches during the winter.

One of the aforementioned weed smokers and I passed each other a couple of times. While most of the large group of pot smoking hikers are completely normal, this dude seemed to have gone off the deep end. He was disoriented, hadn’t got any maps, and didn’t fill water up at a somewhat important source. I am also pretty sure that he was on of the loud drunk people by the church yesterday.

Just after I had lunch I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was in for some trail magic yet again. It was a Canadian couple, “S***splints” and “SuperFeet”, who themselves had hiked the trail last year, which is a big feat considering how much snow there was. He was skinny, had a pony tail and was wearing a Harley Davidson shirt. She was normal in build and was wearing sports clothing. They had driven from Canada and seen a bunch of attractions along the way but their main goal was to do trail magic.

Later we were joined by the aforementioned pot smoker, who opted to sit on his backpack somewhat distant from us. We were kind of a motley crew, and the conversing wasn’t as fluid or natural as it often has been. I had a soft drink, which you probably know how fond I have become of. I asked what their favorite thing about the trail was. They said it was the people who they had met. They really had liked meeting people who they otherwise wouldn’t and were impressed by how supportive people had been of their endeavor. Further, they told us that they were trying to surprise a couple who they met on trail last year and who were completing their PCT hike this year. S***splints had actually driven to Sierra City this morning to use the WiFi by the country store to see where the couple that they were waiting for were, as they were broadcasting their position with a so-called Spot device. So much for lack of cellular service. Anyways, they were understandably a bit preoccupied about this, and why they hadn’t shown up yet, which might also have distracted from our conversation. Amongst other things the pot smoker made statements about Islamists and Japan wanting to initiate forest fires and how people who took things from ghost towns were driving thousands of miles back to return them because they realized that the items were cursed.

After thanking them I hiked on. A mile or so later I bumped into a couple going south that very accurately fit the description given by the trail angels. I smiled a lot, which they must have questioned the reason for, as I as promised didn’t reveal anything, but just told them to be sure to check out the trail magic ahead. So it luckily seemed to work out in the end 🙂

I had gotten some energy from the trail magic and the pause that it incurred, so the next stretch went pretty easily. Eventually I slowed down a bit as I got closer to my destination. The wind picked up quite a bit, but most of the trail was shaded by the thick forest. I eventually reached my desired camp site, but found it pretty full. I asked a hiker if I could camp next to him even though that would mean that our tents would be pretty close together. He said that it would be completely okay with him. Nice! I set up my tent and even though my site was sloping quite a bit it worked well and was out of the wind. I had apparently become very tired as I involuntarily fell asleep very early, like around seven pm, while trying to write my diary and before having everything organized. I woke up around midnight, organized the rest of the things in my tent and fell back asleep.

This days miles: 1195-1220

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