15.6 miles (1313.2 to 1328.8), plus 0.6 to/from Cub Spring
I love that I’m now a hiker who gets to camp when others are already in their tents and leaves the next morning before the others emerged.
Right out of camp, I hike 0.3 miles down to Cub Spring for water, then hike 0.3 miles back up to the trail. From here, the trail climbs, but it’s nothing like yesterday’s crawl out of the Feather River. I come upon a statuesque buck standing in the middle of the trail. He doesn’t move until I say hello, then he leaps off the trail and wanders away.
Near mile 1320, the landscape opens on a view of what seems like the entire Feather River watershed. I see Spanish Peak and even the Sierra Buttes way out on the horizon. I stop for a break. I have reception, so I upload a few photos to Instagram. A NOBO (northbounder) passes me. A little later, I pass him taking a break in the shade.
I spend few hours meandering through white fir forest. I pass the PCT midpoint monument, an underwhelming thing, especially when you’ve skipped a few hundred miles and haven’t actually walked halfway to Canada. Not long after, I stop for lunch in a flattish tent site in an otherwise steep area covered by white fir. The NOBO passes me again. We laugh and wave.
After a long lunch break, I keep going. The trail takes me downhill through white fir. I can tell I’m losing elevation just by the increase in temperature. It’s hot out here. Suddenly I’m at Soldier Creek. The same NOBO is here taking a break in the shade by the water. I stop and we finally introduce ourselves. He’s Sticks. I’m not sure if it’s sticks as in twigs or Styx, as in the river (or the band!), and unfortunately I don’t immediately think to ask for clarification. We chat for awhile. Eventually I get moving again.
An hour later, I reach Highway 36. I cross and take off my pack. Greg drives up. Wow, great timing. He’s brought a jar of peanut butter and a pint of almond milk ice cream. We head for home, and a few long zeroes.
*More pictures on Instagram.