I wake again a few hrs after bed to realize there is a lot of condensation forming on the tarp and that the moon is bright AF. Sorta makes me want to night hike!
I toss and turn through the night and wake up for keeps around 6. I can’t be bothered to make the protein shake I had planned so I pack up, nibble some chocolate, jerky, and chips, and set off right as Brian comes by. He was parked at the site right before me 1/10th mile back. We hike together for a while. Brian is an insanely fit 66 yr old, probably more fit than I can ever be. He has wanted to do the PCT since 1968. We come up to a couple streams (so much water this year!) and decide to take our shoes off for the second one which gets to about 8″ deep. He goes plowing on ahead in his crocs. I’m barefoot at this point and yell to see if he’s changing up ahead. He doesn’t hear me. I sit on a tire and put my stuff back on; Brian is nowhere to be seen. Well then.
I put my music on (best pump up music ever: Black Diamond by Buraka Som Sistema) and start chasing the rabbit. I get to Boulder Oaks campground and there’s a ton of cars and trailers. I’m passed by a lady who gives me the news: today is the PCT ultra (50 miles)! Guess what that means: trail magic on day 2. What even is this trail. Many expectations dashed.
Still no sign of Brian so I pound out some miles in hopes of catching him or finding a runner support station (Yogi-time). I pass some birdwatchers. Suddenly someone shouts from behind! It’s Brian! Apparently I didn’t see him when he was off to the side changing shoes. I lead for a while as we really start ascending, I’m doing ok but breathing hard. We take a 10 minute break at Cibbets Flat campground- it’s 20 before 10. WTF. A mile or so later we take another break when we get to a support station, where we successfully yogi electrolyte drinks, electrolyte capsules, Muir energy gels, and potato chips. Score! Maybe they like us since we are the first hikers they saw today, IDK. Brian leads uphill and after a while I have to fall behind. Well, I don’t have massive calves. A few miles I find Brian taking a break, somewhere around noon. We’re not far from Mt Laguna! Time to yard sale our gear. Some other hikers I didn’t see before push on but eventually Antoine and one of the couples join us for lunch/siesta. Brian and Antoine push on after a bit but I say I’m going to rest 2 hrs. By 1:30 I’m back on the trail, can’t take it any more. I take a more relaxed tempo uphill and bust out my umbrella for shade.
I hit up another station briefly for some electrolyte drink and am into Mt Laguna sometime around 4. I really want a hamburger, I order one. I meet a family who dropped their son off at the border last night at 7:30, he’s an hour away and planning to thru in 3 months. Not really sure how that’s gonna work with all the Sierra snow, but you do you. I dick around and hang with Antoine, then some other hikers inside, order an overpriced coffee, and take an AWESOME detox in the toilet.
Time to hike.
I head over to the gear store where I put some extra food in the hiker box. The guys who work there geek out over my Zpacks zero pack. Before I know it it’s 6pm…yikes. I make it another few miles before finding another sketchy not-spot, jam my hexamid in, and call it a night. Another great day!