Sunday, April 6, 2008

PCT thru hiker sighting

Katie and I went out for a training hike on the PCT this morning at 8:50am. We headed south on the PCT from Hwy 74 (Palms to Pines). About 15 minutes into our hike, we ran into Paul Smith my first thru hiker sighting!!! He had his ULA pack off and was heading into the bushes.

I'd put some PCT Class of 2008 bandanas in my backpack hoping I'd start running into PCT hikers. To get Paul's attention I said, "Are you a thru hiker? And will you be going to ADZ?" Because he answered no to going to ADZ I handed him his orange bandana.

Paul said it had taken him 9 or 10 days to get to where we found him just shy of Hwy 74. He mentioned he'd hiked 18 miles the day before. He talked about the nasty wind he'd encountered many days on the trail since he started. After his tent stakes blew out and his tent collapsed, he set up the tent again putting large rocks on the stakes. At 4am after the tent blew down again, he packed up and started hiking. Oh, he also mentioned how the elevation gain up to Mt Laguna had kicked his butt.

He talked about Pete Fish's trail crew working south of Table Mountain, maybe by Sandy Jeep Road. Later, I did notice what great shape the trail was in from Hwy 74 to Table Mountain's shoulder (a distance of 4.8 miles).

The flowers were out in full bloom. The were lots of blue and purple flowers I don't normally see. I'm not great with flower names but I think the blue was Baby Blue Eyes and the purple - Penstemon. Still in bloom were many other wildflowers too. The air was cool at 4900 feet. A nice change from the desert floor. By 11:15, after a snack break at Table Mountain's shoulder, Katie and I turned around and headed back to the PCT trailhead parking lot enjoying the perfect hiking temperature now in the low 70's full sun and a little breeze.

In previous years, just south of the PCT gate at Hwy 74 (by a hundred yards or so), I'd noticed a water cache. This year, there was no water.

Also, the small sign directing hikers to the Paradise Cafe was not up. This small side trail to the cafe is located on the left 100 yards before reaching Hwy 74.

I checked out the PCT trailhead monument north of Hwy 74. There was an igloo marked for PCT hikers and filled with about 5 empty water bottles. No register. Paul Smith had said he'd noticed 5 other hikers were ahead of him who noticed had signed the register back by the last water source (sandy jeep road?).

Paul Smith - PCT Class of 2008
Began his hike March 29th.

3 comments:

J J said...

What a great bandana!

Carter Hunt said...

Sweet color this year! (why would someone start so early this year?)

Cindy said...

what about the birdie?