PCT Day 77 The Thunder Rolls…


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2nd July 2015

Mileage 24.7

Five Lakes Creek (1138.1) to Peter Grubb Hut (1162.8)

Up down up down. That could sum up the trail today. Like yesterday I hiked alone. I enjoy having a bit of me time. There were a lot of day trippers on the trail as there are many hiking options in this part of the world. I might have passed as many as 100 throughout the day.

A stunning section of trail for the day hiker. For the most part the day was characterised by ridge walking with expansive views. The views also included the building thunderstorms. They didn’t look too threatening till I reach Donner Pass for a rest break.

It had a secluded water source and trail magic provided by two PCT hikers who are taking a couple of days off trail. Thanks Little Bear and Aquanaut. I lingered for maybe 2 hours as a procession of hikers appeared. Several had consumed copious amounts of booze from the nearby ski resort bar.

There were thunderstorms in the vicinity so we waited and checked the local weather radar on our phones. All clear. For now. So off I went.

My left calf was in a lot of pain. I was unable to put all my weight on it, just another injury to add to the list. I simply stepped up onto a large rock and my calf hurt. A strain I think, it should be better in the morning I console myself. Then out of nowhere the loud unmistakable sound of thunder.

Moments later there is a flash of lightning. I start counting the seconds. 1,2,3,4,5 Boom goes the thunder. The rain starts, first lightly then into a tropical downpour. I shelter in a grove of large Pine trees to assess my situation. I am alone. Nobody to bounce ideas off. It’s 6pm and there is a hut 2 miles away. But there is a problem. I must climb over a mountain pass to get there. I’m unaware if the pass is sheltered or exposed to the weather. Are there trees for shelter. Is the thunderstorm intensifying or not. I put on my rain gear and wait under the tree.

Each bolt of lightning is trailed by thunder about 5 seconds later. It is close but not right above me. Maybe 15 minutes go by. 5 seconds, 8 seconds then just the rumble of thunder, I no longer see the flash of lightning. I assess its safe to make my way to the pass. There is still heavy rain but the thunder is moving away. I pause near the top as the trees thin out. Again I assess its safe to continue.

It’s about 7.30pm when I reach the hut. I’m greeted by Mr Smith. He’s giving me the thumbs down. As I draw closer he advises the hut is filled with loads of young noisy girls. I hobble to a nearby piece of flat ground and erect my tent. The rain has temporarily stopped. My left calf is still hurting. Rather unsocially I put up my tent, ate dinner and crawled into the tent to listen to the wind and rain. The 25.7 miles today got the better of me. 

this is how PCT hikers cross busy interstate highways
rain, lightning and thunder
sunset and bedtime

Next : Day 78 Blooming Storms

The Best information about the Pacific Crest Trail:
Complete Guide to the Pacific Crest Trail
Resupply Guide for the PCT
PCT Gear List

PCT Gear Review

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Chile.

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4 thoughts on “PCT Day 77 The Thunder Rolls…”

  1. Still following each post. Glad you are safe. Wish we would get some of that downpour of rain here in SoCal. Be well.


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