Pacific Crest Trail, section I, 2015
Topper is walking the PCT and I decide to accompany her for sections I and J, the 150 mile stretch between Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, walking an aggressive 17 miles a day. By this point she has already walked 1000 miles and is in much better walking shape. I never walk this pace, so it seems like a good challenge...
I arrive in Tuolumne a day early and observe droves of PCT'ers. Those look like heavy packs.
Tuolumne is a major PCT resupply point.
The demand for USB power often exceeds supply.
I sewed a bottom skirt of netting on my tarp in anticipation of the notorious June Yosemite mosquitos.
DAY 1: Bubbling mineral springs in Tuolumne.
The falls adjacent to Glen Aulin.
Time to backstroke.
Typical overbuilt horse-friendly people-unfriendly trail near the Glen Aulin camp.
Sierra June flowers.
After 1000 miles Topper has grown so used to her sleep routine that she prefers to not take refuge in the netted tarp. The mosquitos are getting worse every day.
DAY 3: Every day the mosquitos grow in size and became more numerous. In this stretch of North Yosemite, everyone wears head nets.
DAY 4: Spectacular climb up to 11,000 ft.
We find an area of small trees for some wind cover, and have to melt snow for water.
DAY 5: Slow-going on early-morning frozen snow.
Bearcan gained his name because he carries his can on the outside top of his pack. I did not ask Velcro how he gained his name but one can guess..
Topper gained her name for her somewhat unnerving habit of climbing tall trees.
That's me below.
Trail runners are often a sign of an approaching trailhead.
Sonora Bob is parked in the lot at Sonora Pass and offers a full range of items desirable for backpackers. You can make your own omelette and enjoy a cold Coke.
Sonora Pass is also the end of the required area for bear canisters. Bob does a brisk business transporting them to the local post office.
The country is beautiful north of Sonora Pass, but my right shin starts to hurt and slow me down. Bearcan gives me an ace bandage which helps a little bit, and I agree to meet Topper and Bearcan another 5 miles up the trail. Except that I don't make it that far. After about 3 miles I stop for the night, not sure if I can continue. A further complication: there are reports of fires farther up the trail and hikers may have to backtrack quickly. I can barely move forward, much less go back. Not good.
DAY 6: I set off hoping that my game leg is magically better, and meet PCT walker SuperClassy walking south; she is mixing up the sections. Note her admirably small pack. She carries the message from Topper and Bearcan that they are concerned and are waiting uptrail for me. But when she diagnoses that I might have a tibia stress fracture, I know that she is probably right and that I should abandon the trip and go back to Sonora Pass to spend the night at the nearby Kennedy Meadows Resort. SuperClassy is also going to Kennedy Meadows, and so she kindly walks alongside while I hobble back to the trailhead and we hitchhike to Kennedy. They have a hiker special of dorm bed + showers + washing machines for $35. Not bad.
DAY 7: A day of hitchhiking south. I enjoy this marvelous view in the hot sun for five hours.
Three rides later, Bishop. There are throngs of PCT hikers in town who seem more interested in the bars in Bishop than being on the trail.
I lose six weeks of prime summer Sierra hike time recovering. I saw a physical therapist and I think my problem was just a very sore Tibialis Anterior (shin muscle), not a stress fracture. I guess that I can't avoid the pre-walk weight training anymore.