PCT Day 78 Blooming Storms

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  3rd July 2015

Mileage 26.4

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.


15 minutes later the thunderstorms appeared
in search of water

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  1. Brad the pictures in this post are beautiful. Excellent shots. The logging picture sends a strong a clear message: logging happens here.

    Have you had a chance to listen to the Hardcore History podcast about WWI. If so what are your thoughts?

    1. Hi David, no problem with the logging, it seems to be done sustainably. Selective logging. Loved the hardcore history podcast, I’ve recommended it to other intellectually starved hikers. In the next week I’ll download the other series on the Mongols.

      1. It’s good to hear that the logging is selective and seems to be sustainable. It’s probably quite the contrast from what you saw during your bike ride through Oregon eh?

        I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the series on WWI. The series on the Moguls is just as good. Enjoy!

  2. Loving reading the blog as a fellow Aussie hoping to do the trail next year. Just a quick question- why do you use the Guthhook Ap over the Halfmile? Cheers

    1. Guthook has topo maps or satellite maps that overlay the route and your position on the trail. It has info on water, campsite, towns etc. it’s a better interface. Download the trial version and have a look at it. I highly recommend it. And good luck with the planning.

  3. First,,thx for sharing your adventure. These pics are incredible and I recognize many landscapes from decades ago. I was wondering if these pics are from your phone or G16 ? Second, you are entering the hardest psychological part of the PCT. Hot temps, so-so scenery, not even half way, burn out, and injuries.. I’m sure you realize now why so many people drop out after the Sierra. So chill out, pace yourself and persevere. The best is yet to come. Another 4 weeks you will be in Oregon in August,,,the temps will cool off and the hiking gets a lot more easy. You will be surprised at the daily mileage you make. And once you get to Crater Lake, the scenery just gets better and better the farther north you go all the way to Canada. Section K in Wa. is awesome (and hard). And don’t worry about bad weather in Sept. in Wa. It’s our favorite month to climb there. It gets a lot cooler at night and normally 5 or 6 days of rain (or snow in higher elevations) all month. If you get a freak blizzard, sit it out and count on a long sunny period afterwards. Again, thx for the blog and the best of luck to you and your friends.

    1. I think the answer is yes to all the question. I use the G16 for photos and send them via wifi to my iPhone to post on the blog. We are planning bigger miles to Oregon to negate the mental boredom that seems to exist with almost every hiker I know. It seems to hit everybody so we will deal with if. Can’t wait for the future parts of the trail.

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