Thursday, June 16, 2011

June 11, 2011

June 11, 2011

Start: 716
End: 731

Last night, not surprisingly, was quite cold and dewy. I guess that is what happens when you camp right next to a river in an open meadow on a clear night. I awoke at about 5am to a frost covered sleeping bag and fog settled down in the valley. Fortunately when the sun came up it quickly burned off the fog and we were able to get moving.

We climbed from 8000' to 10600' over the next 8 miles and enjoyed views of the high sierra with Mad Hatter. We ate lunch with the view enjoying a reprieve from the mosquitos that attacked us while hiking along Cow Creek, and other seasonal flows.

After a nice long break we descended back to Gomez Meadow where we saw a Basque carving on an old snag of a man smoking a pipe. Beyond the meadow we entered Death Canyon and ran into a few weekend hikers who told us about a nice pool in the creek we just crossed where we could swim. Most of the hikers moved on, but Brent was camped near the creek.

We decided to check out the swimming hole, which consisted of a 3' wide, 4' long pool of 3.5' deep water. Good enough for us, so we stripped down; skinny-dipped, and cleansed ourselves in the cold water. We then lay in the sun to dry off and warm up until the mosquitos made us put clothes back on and find a campsite, which we found 100' away.

While setting up camp, Brent came over and offered us a place by his campfire in exchange for stories of the hike. Having a fire on the PCT is something of a luxury, so after dinner we headed over and joined Brent. It ended up being mostly him telling stories, which was very entertaining. Brent is now 60, but he told us about when he was 18 and went up to Alaska to work for the Forest Service. It turned out they didn't have jobs available, but some guy named McGee who owned a mine offered him a job so he took it. He ended up mining gold and digging out mammoth and beaver skeletons that were stuck in the mud. Very interesting and nice man.

Tomorrow it's up to new heights as we cross 11,000' for the first time!

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