Pacific Crest Trail – Day 83 (34 miles)
I woke up at 4.50 am and was in the car 15 minutes later on the way to Braittenbush Campground on the other side of the Mt Jefferson Closure. Google said it would take just over 1 and a half hours from Bend.
Gareth and I drove along the highway and turn off to the campground. When we get there I look at my maps and it is not the right place and nowhere near the PCT.
About 20 minutes later we saw a little sign that someone had put up saying the PCT was to the right, down a forestry track. We head down that way. It was a narrow track and was slow, but eventually, we arrive at the trail.
I said goodbye to Gareth and started walking, ever so happy to be back on the trail. My feet feeling much better from the day of rest.
I was meeting Pocket Rocket tonight at 8 pm, she and I hiked almost 1,000 miles when we completed the trail in 2015. It was 9 am and I had 34 miles to hike in 11 hours. I would have to be quick.
My plan was to hike steadily all day and only stop for water and a short lunch break.
I pushed on and met a few southbound Thru Hikers. I then met some more. Throughout the day I saw 17 southbound hikers, by far the most I have seen on the trail, and almost double the amount I have seen in total up to today.
After a couple of hours I was bored of walking past the same trees and logging areas, so I stuck in my headphones and listened to a podcast. It was about police shootings in the USA, why they happen and how they can be reduced (Radiolab – First Shot. Well worth a listen). I met a southbound hiker from Australia as I was eating lunch. We chatted about hiking back home and how it differed from here.
At 7 pm I had 4 miles to hike and only one hour. I stepped up the pace and arrived just before 8 pm. I saw a foot sticking out behind a tree as I approach the road and our meeting point. Pocket Rocket was sitting there reading and waiting.
She brought a burrito along for me. I ate as we talked. It has been over 2 years since I last saw her and it was fantastic to find out how she has been.
We talked well past nightfall and all I could think about was bed.