Today, I celebrated two months on the PCT and 1,000 miles hiked, and what a fantastic day it was. I’m in the middle of a 150-mile stretch from Tuolumne Meadows to Lake Tahoe and I’ve linked up with Thomas and Justin, two guys who are hiking from Tehachapi to Echo Lake (Tahoe). This is probably the first time I’ve actually had real hiking partners for a string of days. (Troll, Oblivious, Rest Stop and I hiked together for only a day.) Thomas and Justin seem to have a good pace and their style of taking breaks and mealtimes meshes well with mine. It’s too bad they’ll both be leaving the trail at Lake Tahoe. The landscape has started to change again as the granitic rock that characterized the High Sierra gives way to volcanic rock. There are fewer stark whites and more shades of brown and red. Volcanic rock is more porous, so consequently there are fewer lakes and ponds; thereby, blissfully, less mosquitos. This afternoon took us across 10 miles of alpine walking in this landscape and it was magnificent, looking perhaps like Switzerland in some places.
Thomas uses a nifty stove setup to cook, which I’m envious of.
It’s a wood burning stove, called a Bush Buddy, made by a guy in Canada. It’s light as a feather, small, and best of all doesn’t require typical stove fuel (usually some type of alcohol blend). We ended our day at Sonora pass, which is transected by Route 108. Parents of a thru-hiker named Totally Rachel were there and gave us nectarines. With this good luck, Thomas, Justin and I decided to cook our dinner by the roadside. Just as I was getting out my pot and stove, a small truck pulled to the shoulder and a man leaned out the window to inquire if we were thru-hikers. He then U-turned, hopped out of his truck, and opened the cooler in the back.
Apologetic that he couldn’t give us a lift to town (we weren’t going to town anyhow) this man, Jeff, offered up diet soda, chicken, ramen, Easy Mac, and (to our delight) 16 hot dogs, buns, ketchup and mustard. The feast was on! Thanking Jeff for the food and not believing our luck, we walked 100 yards back to a campsite, built a fire, and dug in. I ate 5 hot dogs with Justin while Thomas scarfed down 6. One minute we were facing the usual trail food (for me it was Tuna Mac with Old Bay) and the next minute it’s as if somebody drops hot dogs from the sky. A great way to celebrate 1,000 miles.