Pacific Crest Trail

Clouds over McCloud River

Day 82

Got up a bit earlier today to further enjoy the coolness of the morning. Given the humidity and heat, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that a thunderstorm was raging, though I hadn’t been awoken by it. It was somewhat distant, I reckoned, as it wasn’t raining here and there was some delay between the lightning strikes were heard and the sound caught up with us.

Eon, probably awoken by my commotion, got up equally early and soon after we both started hiking individually. The dark clouds and what looked like massive rain was seen in the east. I still felt that I would be more comfortable getting a bit down from the hill I was on. A couple of hours in, the trail descended and the thunderstorm never really got near. The descent was the start of a long stretch leading down to McCloud River. There had been reported massive amounts of poison oak on the last two miles leading down and the first ten leading up. Sigh! Apparently some people don’t react much to them while others are reactive. I didn’t want to find out that I belonged to the latter group the hard way.

It turned out, however, that the poison oak on the descent weren’t that hard to avoid touching, so without much delay I reached the river around noon. At first I couldn’t find any nice ways to get down to the river, but Eon had beat me to it and found a nice path which took me down to a place with calm water. The morning hadn’t been uncomfortable warm, but it had certainly gotten warmer the last couple of hours, so I had really been looking forward to getting a dip. The place was in the shade and at first quite cold, but once you got under it became tolerable and the swim was quite relaxing. I knew that it would only be a couple of hours before I would be unreborn again, so to say, as a the sweat brought on by the midday sun would steal away the ephemeral feeling of being cool and clean, but boy, was it nice!

The ascent was easy at first with few problems from the poison oak, but after having been avoiding them now for hours today and them unexpectedly becoming more frequent and intrusive, it was really starting to get to me and I was going rather slow. Meanwhile, it was getting darker, which I found somewhat peculiar but thought it was just the hill obstructing the sunlight. Shortly after gusts of wind started blowing and I finally looked up at the sky to find it was ominously dark.

I hiked on a bit and had dinner while considering my options. I had cold soaked mashed potatoes and for desert chocolate pudding made from powder. The latter was quite good. I think I will try that again. The camp site that Eon was aiming for was 32 miles from where we started and that seemed doable, but reading comments about bear sighting there I decided to camp a bit before that. That still put me at a reasonable distance to get to town tomorrow. Further, and as always, I’ll just get up a bit early. It never started to rain but thunders were heard in the distant throughout the evening. The darn poison oak will mostly be gone by the time I get to Oregon, which I am looking forward to of course not just because of that.

This days miles: 1450-1478

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