Mile 421.5 to mile 440.3
18.8 trail miles
To start, we are pretty sure we did a little less than 18.8 miles. Our legs and feet feel like around 17 but we have no way to be 100% sure. Part of our journey today included a dirt road walk and don't have a way to measure that distance.
The morning started out like so many past mornings with the wind blowing hard. After getting all of our belongings in order, I stuck my head out of the tent vestibule to see what kind of day we were going to have only to see Far Out sitting there. He was sitting cross legged in his puffy jacket and balaclava, sun glasses on, and his tent was no longer standing but now laying across his lap. That sight along with the look on his face pretty much summed up these windy nights. Not much sleep was had by anyone.
Mandie and I were ready to go and Far Out still needed to finish packing and treat his blisters, so we headed off without him. Shortly after we had started our first road walk of the day, Darwin and Fenna passed us. They seemed to be on a mission.
As we headed up Mt. Gleason Rd. it was anything but a nicely graded road. It was steep and, a hard surface to walk on, and lined with PDB. The road led us to the top of Mt. Gleason, of course, but we made a left turn just before the top and didn't get to summit.
The next road would take us to Messenger Flats CG and beyond. We took a moment to test out the picnic benches at Messenger Flats and have a bite to eat before going beyond. Past The CG there wasn't much but an exposed dirt road. We would walk on this road for an undetermined amount of miles until it met back up with the PCT. We had intended to get back on the PCT at this point but the PDB and Trail Closed sign detoured us so we stayed on the road. The road would eventually take us to the North Fork Ranger Station.
At the North Fork Ranger Station we found a nice sizes water cache consisting of 4-5 5 gallon jugs of water and some Trail Magic!!! There were coolers of ice cold soda and Snickers bars. They asked for a small donation for the Magic and we were more than happy to comply.
We sat in the shade with some other hikers, the Warrior Hike guys, and enjoyed our snack. We had intentions on staying there for a few hours, to let the afternoon heat subside, but decided to push on anyway. We only had another 4 miles to do to get to camp.
The trail to camp was along the exposed side of a mountain, it was hot and the trail would crumble under our feet. I imagined if I could hike in an oven that that is what it would feel like. It didn't help things that we were carrying extra water because our camp site would be a dry camp site.
We finally reached the campsite and we were all dripping in sweat. Far Out and I immediately took our shirts off too cool down and Mandie crashed in the shade. We wouldn't move very far for the rest of the night.
We all cooked up some dinner, Top Ramen for Mandie and I and Far Out had the last of his Tuna Fish packets, and chatted the rest of the night away.
It has finally cooled off as we lay here in our tent, vestibules open, and a slight breeze blowing through. We have 4 miles to do tomorrow to reach the KOA where were are going to relax the day away and eat some real food.