I started out camping between highway 50 and Echo Lake resort, and when I woke up realized I had probably camped in someones back yard! It had been just about dark when I set up camp, and with so many houses in that stretch it didn’t surprise me. A short morning hike brought me to the resort, where I mixed up my peanut butter happiness concoction, made a phone call, and ate my breakfast. That weekend had apparently been “Echo Lakes Days,” and the place was packed. The trail continued alond the eastern side of Echo Lake, with the lake on my left and the mountain on my right. In front if me, coming one after another, were people, tons and tons of people! Well, there went my plans of a 20+ mile day. There were two little guys, about 7 years old, and they were among my favorites. Tons of questions! And guys, if you’re reading this, no, I still haven’t seen Justin Bieber on the trail yet. But, I promise I’ll let you know if I do. The four very cool kids from Sacramento, (happy birthday!), and let’s grab ice cream when I get back. The whole family that had been hiking and had gone swimming at Aloha Lake…the list could go on.
I did get back to 20+ the next day, then my left foot started hurting when I woke up the next morning, abnormally so. I’m accustomed to my feet and ankles hurting, and it’s easy to differentiate between the standard “PCT Pain” and something else. This was definitely something else, and worried me. It set my day off a little, but I was able to manage 18 miles. Same for the next day, in both left foot pain and miles, but my outlook brightened.
I made my goal of reaching the Peter Grubb Hut, a few miles north of the I-80 freeway, and couldn’t believe how cool it was. Named in memory of Peter Grubb, who passed away at the age of 18 in a bicycle accident in 1939, it is maintained by the Sierra Club, and it is VERY cool. Pictures inside show visitors in the wintertime entering through the second story doors since the snow is so high, although I managed a clean first floor entry. I saw someones shoes and trekking poles outside, so I knew someone was around…and as I inspected the first floor, a head poked it’s way through the entry to the second floor: Veg! I had last seen Veg at Bridgeport, before heading home for a few days, and I had caught up with him! He was in “vacation mode” at the moment, with a job offer coming through that only gave him one more month of hiking, not enough to finish the trail this year. He’d push on as far as he could, then finish the trail next year. We had a good time catching up, and ultimately fell asleep with the warmth of a roaring fire diwnstairs making our sleeping bags nearly unnecessary. It’s doubtful I’ll see him again this year, but I will someday, a great guy with one of the best laughs on the trail!
I made nearly 20 miles today, and found a great campsite, so I bunked down. Great mileage in the time given, considering I got a very late start to the day and lost the trail twice, both rough. Took a hard fall on some snow, feet flying up in the air, the whole production. Fun times! Will be getting into Sierra City tomorrow, and sleeping on the lawn of a church there that is very accommodating to thru-hikers. After I pick up my resupply package there Saturday morning, I’ll be off once more. In desperate need of a shower & whatnot…last one was 9 days ago. Fun!
The only folks I saw on the trail today was Rick and his 12 year old son, Noah. They were out for a few days, backpacking & enjoying the trail. Had a really fun conversation with them. When we first crossed paths, Rick asked, “Are you the real deal?” I was pretty sure his meaning, but I played dumb and replied, “Well, I’m flesh & blood, so I suppose…”. 🙂 But I then answered that yes, I was a thru-hiker attempting the whole trail. He mentioned that it was a dream of his, and that maybe someday he and his son would be able to thru-hike the trail together. What an amazing thought…definitely something I would love to do with my kids, if I’m fortunate enough to have any. I encouraged Rick to dream it & without question, do it someday. I really hope they make the opportunity to do it!
Only bad news, but a bit of a downer: tooth pain on my right side started a few days ago. Not good. It’s bearable right now, but just before I left on this journey, I had quite a few visits to my dentist, with several thousand dollars of work done, including two root canals. I have some work that still needs to be done when I get back, and I’m hoping the temporary fix on the tooth that’s hurting isn’t expiring. Since it’s more sensitive to hot & cold, I’m going to be sending my stove home & going “cookless” the rest of the 1500 miles to Canada. It’s a great little stove (Jetboil), but hot meals tend to hurt now…please keep my tooth pain in your prayers!
Now, bedtime at mile 1182, as a deer makes it’s way through my camp about 12 feet from my sleep spot. 🙂