Mile 403.4 to mile 421.5
We have named today and possibly the rest of the week Poodle Dog Bush (PDB) day. For most of the day the trail was lined with PDB and we had to dance around it. At some points it was nearly impossible to get around it safely and it will be a miracle if neither one of us get it.
A few miles after hitting the trail this morning we stopped off at Sulphur Springs Trail Camp to fill up on water. The place smells a lot better than the name suggests. There we bumped into Sprinkles, who was also there for water, and Far Out, who had camped there. Sprinkles left shortly after we arrived so we hung out with Far Out. While we sat there chatting we are snacks and did some chores like filtering water and washing socks.
Now back on the trail with Far Out we walked up the paved camp road to were the PCT crossed it. We hung a right and were back on our trail climbing. We would climb slowly for the next several miles all wile dodging PDB.
Far Out does our kinda mileage but hikes faster than us so we would lose him while hiking and only catch up to him when he took a break of at the end of the day. We are slow hikers and everybody seems to pass us, until they take a break, and we pass them right back. Today that seemed to be the case with other people too like Hillary and Angelina and the four guys hiking for The Warrior Hike Project.
Mandie and I stopped for a yummy bagel sandwich lunch under a huge Sugar Pine. The sun was out warming our bodies and of course the wind was blowing. When we were done eating we laid there for about fifteen minutes resting our bodies and letting the sun lull us to sleep. Neither of us slept good the night before so it wasn't hard to do.
Back on our feet and cruising down the trail we had 6.4 miles to do to make it to our next water source, the Mill Creek Fire Station. We covered those miles pretty quickly despite it being a difficult trail to walk.
When we arrived at the Fire Station, Far Out, Sprinkles, Hillary, and Angelina were already there doing what hikers do, eating and drinking. We dropped our packs, took off our shoes, and joined them. The topic of discussion was what to do for the next section of trail as the PDB was supposed to be worse than the previous section of trail.
They had spoken to a Ranger there and she advised them that they could walk a few more miles on the trail but when it crossed the road again to stay on the road, for the next seventeen. Ugh! Road walks are a killer on the feet and of course are not very safe. There is also no chance to resupply our water on the road which meant we needed to carry as much water as we could.
So, we filled up ever water container we had, all 10 liters with each of us carrying 5, and headed back out onto the trail. The plan was to walk 2 of the 3 miles to the road and camp there but plans don't always work out.
The 3 mile hike to the road turned out to be a mountain climb in sandy soil. Not exactly what we had expected or wanted to do carrying 10 pounds. On top of that there was no where to camp, not a flat spot large enough to pitch our tent on. So that meant we had to do the full 3 miles to the road. Despite not wanting to hike all that way It turned out to be fine. Both of us felt really good hiking today, nice stong legs and feet. So if we had to do some extra miles today was a good day for it.
We are now camped out on the side of an infrequently used service road with Far Out. Everybody else went a little further to get closer to water. Tomorrow we will take this road to North Fork Ranger Station. At least the road will be nicely graded.