Miles: 22.36
Camping: PCT mile 1065.56

Today started out much better than yesterday, even if I did run out of fuel while making my morning coffee. Something must be wrong with my stove because I should not be going through fuel so quickly. Blisster let me use some of his to at least get my untreated water to a boil, and I know I can survive stoveless for a couple of days. I’ve been thinking of trying it long term anyhow, it’s how all the ultra light backpackers hike and I’m always game to drop more ounces from my pack. The less weight I carry, the less work my body is doing and the less food I need. I think I will ship my stove forward and give it a go, the only true downfall being cold coffee in the morning. I think that’s what they refer to as, “first world problems.” I’m otherwise living the dream.

The views were of a different world today. Sometimes it felt like we were back in the desert compensated by walks among the trees, and ample flows of water. There were huge colorful rocks in cool formations, lots of sand, and plenty of sage brush. The sun shone in a cloudless sky and my 2 companions and I walked merrily among the scene. I taught CrackerJack the names of all of the plants I know, which made me eager to learn the ones I don’t know. I need to remember to buy an app for that in town.

We were moving along at a nice pace after second breakfast thinking that a 25 mile day might be in our sights. This was something we would leave open until later, and soon we caught sight of a wonderful sign. Trail magic! The arrow pointed off trail and indicated a 300 yard walk. It was worth it to go inspect the goods, so CJ and I raced down the trail like school kids hoping Blisster would find us there. We arrived to quite an elaborate spread: tables full of food, chairs in a giant circle (we love chairs!), a grill and at least half a dozen coolers. We met Lizard, Burger Meister, Forever 50 and 2 others whose names escape me now but their kindness remains in my heart! They gave us plates of fresh fruit (including plums from their very own yards), and an option of cold beverages. I took a Gatorade, and CJ had a beer. It was 9:30am and they asked if it was too early for burgers, which it most certainly was not. Another hiker named Birdbath was there as well and the trail angels waited on us hand and foot, it was pretty amazing. We had burgers, cookies, beans, potato salad, more fruit and even some chocolate before deciding we better get back on trail. As Blisster never showed up, they gave us a burger to go for him. I carried it happily, as I loved the idea of making my friend’s day, especially after he missed the magic. Thank you angels!

Back on trail with full bellies, we hiked most of the rest of the day apart. I enjoyed the scenery, especially as the vista began to open up. We went from the desert like terrain of morning to rolling hills of dense wildflowers, and a green valley opening up below in the afternoon. We are getting close to Lake Tahoe and the terrain is changing with the miles. If it weren’t for my disintegrating shoes, today would have been perfect. I don’t know how people hike in Altras the whole time if they need to be replaced with less than 300 miles of wear. I’m going back to Brooks, but a different model than I started with, and a size larger. I hope this works, because the only thing that holds me back are my feet, and they were barking by the time we reached camp.

Blisster had been waiting on us just shy of a mile from our intended stopping point. He had found a nice spot on a small lake and wanted to camp there. I had zero objection to stopping early (it was only a mile short of our goal), as my feet were unhappy and I was hungry. We set up camp and I asked Blisster that if he could have anything he wanted for dinner, what would it be? He said cheeseburger, so when I handed it to him, it totally made his day! He said that my carrying it nearly 18 miles for him was better than trail magic…happy campers! We are only about 27 miles from our hitch into Tahoe, so we will do as much as we can tomorrow and have an easy morning Friday. This way we can make it to town for breakfast, the ultimate of all meals. There is a zero or two just around the corner, and I’m ready to get my rest on. After Tahoe we plan to hit the gas and start crushing miles to Canada. Less down time, more walking. We are nearing the halfway point and have a long way to go in order to beat the snow in Washington. It’s about to be a whole new ball game. But first, Tahoe.

Blisster tying knots
Trail Angels