25 Jun Day 63 – Wide Open Spaces
At mile 1590.8. Hiked 24.7 miles today. Vertical Feet Ascent was 4500.
The last 3 days have had beautiful vistas of mountains, meadows, and rock formations. Each day better than the last with today being the best. Photos don’t translate, but I’m sharing a lot of photos today.
Here is what I thought were cool rocks. I see a lot of rock fields and I don’t know what it was about this one that stood out for me.
Flowers with mountain background in morning light.
Trail with Russian Mountain in background. Entering Russian Mountain Wilderness.
Giant rocks fell on the trail. I moved a little faster here and didn’t stop to check whether a thru-hiker was pinned under this rock.
Here are more photos of some of the wide open spaces of the day.
Here is a calm trail.
And here is the trail in the distance as it cuts up a very open steep slope.
Here is the daily Mt Shasta photo.
The moon means this day may soon be over. I had already cooked lasagna for supper on the trail and was hiking the last 2.5 miles to camp, much of it an ascent.
See my note below about Mantis and Pickup. The PCT permit system limits start dates to 50 people per day. This has the desired effect of spreading people out, but has the side effect of having many people start way to early. Even taking zeros many people reach the Sierras weeks too early for safe and comfortable travel. I’m talking about the typical person. These early arrivals have a few choices. 1. Full steam ahead into the Sierras. They risk getting in trouble and at a minimum suffer hardship and regret the decision. 2. Skip to another part of the trail that isn’t snowbound to give Sierras more time. 3. Take time off trail. I did a combination of 2 and 3. Mantis and Pickup did number 2, but found that part of the section they skipped to had too much snow. I’ve spoken to a lot of people that used option 1 and I heard harrowing stories and tales of misery. In many cases these people bailed out of the Sierras at some point and went to option 2. Interestingly, some people hiked most of the Sierras before switching to option 2. They had proven they could do Sierras early, but they were so completely sick of walking in snow that they moved to option 2 so they could feel ground under their feet.
This was not a problem before the PCT became popular and the current permit system came about. In those days nearly everyone started around the optimum start date.
Mantis and Pickup has skipped most of Sierras, gone to Ashland to hike south, skipped section from Etna to Mt Shasta due to too much snow. I met them going SOBO to complete section to Mt Shasta. They will hop again to do the Sierras and hop a final time to go north from Ashland. Complicated?