Pacific Crest Trail – Day 70 (35 miles)
Again I was up on a ridge. Steep mountains followed by a layer of bright green shrub and fir trees in the valley. This last couple hundred miles of California has been fantastic!
I have to say that there were some steep climbs by PCT standard. This trail usually sticks to a low-grade answer switchbacks up a hill. This morning it decided to take a direct approach. It was not overly steep but got me sweating.
The smoke haze obscured everything did not help. It created a blanket of humidity and got thick enough at times that I could not clearly see the next ridge.
I stopped at a spring for lunch and met Optimistic Tortoise. She was one of the first people into the Sierra and therefore provided the first bit of information to the rest of us. We sat and chatted for an hour.
I then started one of the biggest decent of the trail. It was 7,000ft (~2km) down to the valley.
It started out great. I enjoyed the continual ease of going down. About a third of the way down I went through a thick layer of smoke from the fires. This smoke changed it into a challenging decent. It was already an extremely hot day, but below the smoke, the humidity skyrocketed. My t-shirt was totally covered in sweat. I’ve never had to work so hard to walk downhill before!
The humidity slowly drained me and I started to feel tired. I also started to chaff. Between the two I just wanted to get the last 4 miles over with and set up camp.
I got to camp and jumped into the river to cool down. Feeling better, I eat and had some roasted marshmallows from a fellow hiker.
I was just about to go to bed when I saw Left and Right. I had not seen them since mile 60, so many days and miles ago.
I moved camp near them and we talked until the sun dripped well passed the horizon.