Pacific Crest Trail (2018) 28: Suspicious Hammock Users

Saturday, June 23, 2018 – 13.80 miles

Since I didn’t cook last night, I decided to cook this morning. I made a whole pot (mug) of the dead weight (steel cut oats). I feel antsy taking the time to cook in the morning – it’s like taking a rest without having done anything.

Pleasant walking today through forest and lush meadows filled with flowers and butterflies. Good views of Shasta and Mt. Ashland.

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Clouds of pollen floated through the air, settling as a thin ochre coating on the forest floor. I was relieved to finally get cell reception in the afternoon, since I had forgotten to give my parents my itinerary before leaving Seiad Valley and my mother is a worrier. It turns out that she thought I had been stabbed by EJ since I had mentioned him using a hammock and that seemed strange to her. I’ll make sure to never mention anyone cowboy camping to her.

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I kept getting startled today. A backpacker got me twice, coming up behind me quietly and saying ‘I’m behind you’ right in my ear, then a runner training for an upcoming local race got me once. I yelped the first two times but was apparently yelped out by the third time since I just started violently. SAY I’M BEHIND YOU WHEN YOU ARE STILL A REASONABLE DISTANCE BEHIND. Even better, click your poles or kick some rocks or something. Kick a boulder if you’re a serial startler. 

I also met a SOBO backpacker who asked me how far away the border was. I gave him a guesstimate since I thought he was asking casually, but he then mentioned that he was hoping to get there by nightfall and didn’t have a map. In retrospect, maybe I should have questioned him about his plans, since the trail in northern California is not well-marked and I had met four hikers who had gotten confused at junctions without signage. Two of them had strayed from the trail at the same place, I think near Man Eaten Lake, and ended up trying to hike around/over snowfields on the old PCT. To be clear, the trail is a piece of cake to navigate if you have a method of navigation and use it at junctions, but you need something. I tend to assume though that other hikers know what they’re doing, so… hopefully I won’t hear any stories about a missing man…

I camped in the forest a short distance before Mt. Ashland Campground. 

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