Peter Grubb Hut (1162.8) to Bushcamp (1189.2)
I woke with no pain in my strained calf. That lifted my mood when I set off on the trail. The mosquitos quickly changed my mood. With the mozzies comes the deet. Everytime I lather myself with deet I end up becoming a magnet for dirt. Today was no exception. The last couple of mozzie infested weeks have been the dirtiest of the whole hike. Even dirtier than hiking in the dry dusty desert.
I spent the first several hours on the trail admiring and photographing the wildflowers. Today was equal to or better than any other day for the flora. My mood lifted immensely as a result. While photographing the flowers I noticed the limitations of my camera. Last year I was caught in a sand storm in Utah. It scratched the lens. It was annoying at first but has progressively got worse. Dirt, dust, moisture, deet and sunscreen have all taken their toll. Alcohol can only do so much to clean the lens, the scratches are terminal. I’m unable to take photos into the sun without serious distortion or lens flare. I find this very frustrating. As a result I’ve decided to get a new camera in the coming weeks. An early birthday present to myself. I like my current camera so will get the exact same one again, a Canon G16.
While climbing a hill I passed some horse riders. The PCT is a shared hiking and horse trail for its entire length. But there’s not many horse riders on trail, at least I haven’t seen any. The exception was an organised horse tour group in Yosemite.
Shortly after seeing the horse riders I entered a recently logged area. I’m in forestry land. I crested a hill and was surprised to see thunder clouds building. It was only 11am. Mr & Mrs Smith and Hummingbird caught up to me. The clouds intensified. Crash went the thunder. It was nearby, maybe 10 miles away. We descended lower looking for water. For the first time my digital map was incorrect. The water was not where it said it would be. Damn you Guthhook App. I had no water, in fact I’d had no water for over a mile. It was several miles to the next water source. The four of us backtracked looking for a stream, nothing. We consulted the backup digital map, Halfmile. The water did indeed exist but involved a road walk to get there. Reluctantly we set off. I scooped water into my water bottle. It was intensely humid, something that hasn’t been common on the trail so far. I live in the tropics so I was the only person comfortable with the sweaty conditions. We hiked maybe 2 miles in search of water. Imagine our horror when we found pools of drinkable water right next to the trail when we rejoined it. We bravely smiled at our misadventure.
The afternoon section of the trail followed ridgelines. Very exposed to the building storms. We had sufficient cell phone service to check the local weather radar. Storms all around us. For the next 4 hours the thunderstorms seemed to dance around us. Amazingly we made camp without getting wet. Another marathon day.
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