Miles - 25
I always amaze myself by how speedily I can be when I hike in the morning. I do 10 miles by 10 am. The climb today doesn’t actually feel that bad it’s only 1200 ft then its levels out. I pause and eat a mars bar and I’m spotted by a curious chipmunk. One who is obviously familiar with humans. They dash around, sussing me out then scurrying over being coy and deceptive. They seek out my bag of trail mix and nimble at it. I throw a few nuts at it and check my location on my English phone as my US one is being exceptionally slow. I’m a mile away from Chicken Spring lake so I walk on and the view of the place is spectacular when I arrive. A piercing blue sky with no clouds hovers above. A great rocky cove surrounds the blueish lake, pine trees line the edges. Snow clings to the to the cliffs. A slight wind stirs the trees and I am in bliss.
I turn off the trail slightly to relax beside the lake. I rinse some clothes and myself and sit in the shade while they dry. It’s so blissful here, I am at peace, the first lake I’ve found on the PCT. After 2h I head off and I’m spotted by Red beard and Zipper and I then end up chilling with them for another hour and smoke weed. I hike out before them and gain a little height. We’ve all agreed to camp 15 miles away. I ascend the path which is a stoney ascent and rises above the lake. I walk a few miles and stop for a bit as Redbeard and Zipper catch up and over take.
The trail levels out and I cross through the pine forest and walk on sandy paths. I hike through a meadow and descend into a pine-ier forest (if possible). I find water and catch Red beard and Zipper getting their fill and hike on. It’s 6 miles and a 1500 ft ascent. I follow slowly and I’m joined briefly by 2 Canadians. Jukebox and snakebite(?) who are section hiking. I walk by a glorious river and see a dozen colourful tents set out beside it. They are all spread out here and there enjoying their own little peace. Some fish with small-travel size rods, some are cooking, some tending to their sore feet (section/JMT hikers - their feet still getting use to the trail), some nap, some read, some stretch, some tents are closed - their inhabitants sleeping, some are climbing trees, some are gathered in groups, some are enjoying movement without a pack, some hobble, some wave and I keep going.
Up I climb zigzagging, up, right, left, right, left, a green meadow appears with the solitary lone path of the trail running through it. I’m surrounded by high rocky cliffs on either side and lone trees dotted around. Up, right, left. Golden shafts of sunlight glisten and hover through the trees as the sun is beginning to call it a day.
Then all of a sudden it levels out and I’m walking through a forest. It’s quiet and still.
I push on a bit further and meet the top, then I zig zag down. The sun now casts red and golden rays over the trees and the wind filters through the branches. I’m the only thing making a noise.
Down I go and I arrive at the Whitney Creek and a glorious meadow with a larger river flowing through. I get closer and I see small flock of deer wandering about calmly. It’s amazing. I set up camp near the bear box and chat with a guy called BLT - Brave Little Toaster. He is getting off at Lone Pine after south bounding due to starting his hike early. Now he’s heading north again. We chat this and that - the usual hiker talk and smoke weed. Darkness falls bringing the chill. BLT zips his tent shut and I snuggle down in my sleeping bag as I cowboy camp under the stars which shine brightly.