Day 60: Summer Solstice

Miles Hiked: 33.6

PCT Mileage: 1061.3

This morning I woke up around 4:45am and left camp around 5am. Downhill Daddy and Duck were both still asleep when I left. The morning was chilly but tolerable. I hiked through a pine forest on a sandy granite trail. I felt great and I was cruising. Today is the summer solstice, one of my favorite days of the summer I have been looking forward to for a long time! I had some coffee packets with breakfast. I haven’t had caffeine in over a week. I hoped it would give me energy to hike a big day in honor of it being a long one.

I ended up walking 33 miles today! The trail was so easy after all the crazy long ups and downs over passes in the Sierra. I went 11.5 miles before stopping to take a long morning break around 9am. On my break I ate my dehydrated refried beans with cheese whiz and fritos. I’ve been wanting to try these beans for a long time and they were delicious! I found them at the Kennedy Meadows South general store. I think I will order some in bulk to my parents house so they can be included in some of my resupply boxes I will have sent farther down the trail. I also have to mention that I ate this all cold and it still tasted so good to me. I sent my stove home in Tuolumne meadows because I’m not the biggest fan of cooking on trails. I hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in 2019 and only used a stove for a week of it. I usually don’t cold soak anything either but these beans were an occasion and I’m so glad I tried them. It will definitely be a keeper meal. On my break I also filtered water, stretched, and brushed my teeth. The day was off to a great start.

Shortly after my break I was hiking uphill when I came upon another hiker I had passed around mile five of my day. I easily came up behind her as she was hiking significantly slower than my usual pace. I said hello happily as I usually do when I try to pass people as nicely as possible. I got no response. I said it a few more times in a normal tone but each time I got absolutely no answer. I noticed she had headphones in so I started saying it very loud. Eventually I had to practically scream to get any sort of acknowledgment. She let me pass but I was very irritated. Someone shouldn’t be so unaware of their surroundings out here. Usually I hike with one ear phone or keep my volume low enough to hear anyone come up behind me. Shortly after I passed her I rolled my right ankle really hard and fell down. Karma? It hurt so bad and I limped for the next two miles feeling very concerned. My ankle just recovered from the really hard roll I did to it coming in to Tuolumne meadows. Here we go again! It definitely hurt way worse this time.

I ran into Bahama Mama around mile 14 of my day. I was so happy to see her. We hiked together for almost the rest of the day. Keeping each other company made the miles fly by. She was trying to do a big day today too. Turns out she camped three miles past me last night. We mostly talked about careers and our educational backgrounds. I shared about my experience being educated in the health care field and how my first job at a hospital was traumatic for me. Although I thought that was a path I’d take at one point in life these days my mind wanders more to physical jobs that take place outside such as farming or trail building. She also reminded me of something I thought about long ago, the peace core. There is so much time to think about every in the world out here! Bahama Mama has a background in statistics, economics, and data analytics but after this trail she is entering a new field related to ecology. She is so intersted in identifying all the plants around us and she tells me cool facts about them and trees all day. We took a 30 minute lunch break near a creek. I eat some cold oat meal, apricots, and a protein bar.

We leave lunch separately but reunite at Ebbetts pass where I run into a welcome surprise. Trail Magic! An older gentleman trail named “Chipmunk” has an entire set up on the side of the road. A big red tent with a table and chairs, a hand washing station, and coolers full of drinks. He cooks us chili, eggs, hash browns, and toast on a camp stove. Honestly this is the best food I’ve eaten since VVR. We sign into his log book and look at when all of our friends ahead of us signed in. Chipmunk has done trail magic at this location for years and tells us that he will be here all week doing trail magic. So thankful! We hang out for over an hour chatting with Chipmunk and the other hikers who show up to the surprise. Luckily the trail magic was 20 miles in to my day and it was still early so I still had all the time to hike a big day. I probably needed the break anyways.

Bahama Mama and I leave the trail magic together feeling full. The trail is cruisey the rest of the day and reminds me of the CDT alot. There were few trees for most of it and we were surrounded by lots of craggy peaks and Ridgelines. The scenery has changed quite a bit since Sonora Pass. I love it. Near the end of the day we both settle on a spot that marks 33.6 miles for me. It’s 7pm. I’m not tired because the caffeine had me so wired but feel content with my efforts. The longest day I’ve ever hiked is 34 miles. I could keep hiking to beat my record but I just don’t care. I need to rest so I can do another big day tomorrow. I take Benedryl and an edible to make myself relax and go to sleep to recover from the long day.

Happy Trails!

-Early Bird

Published by Deserrae Potts

Thru Hiker Blogger

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