Tuesday, March 26, 2019 – 11.40 miles
I’m generally in favour of switchbacks, but today’s trail was inanely winding and long. eTrails states: ‘The length of the hills is only 11 miles as the crow flies, but the PCT travels more than twice that as it winds in and out of every gully and makes painfully long and gentle switchbacks.’ Most of the cacti and many of the flowers had disappeared, so I got the impression of little gained for much effort, though the flowers were still brilliant in some areas.
I took the side trail to the 3rd Gate water cache, which is the ideal cache: its position is logical (last year I saw small caches right beside water and separated from water by only a few miles), it’s off-trail so you don’t have to see it if you don’t want to, and it has a mesh cage for storing empty bottles so they won’t blow away and become litter. The PCTA water report mentions its maintainers having to clean up poop and toilet paper. This is why we can’t have nice things. This. Is. Why.
A decent climb followed the cache, but the weather has been friendly today with clouds and a cool breeze. Since the vegetation has changed to dense bushes with few camping opportunities, I chose an established campsite near the top of the climb. It’s showing signs of use, but I’m not going to be picky.
I was surprised today to discover that I’ve developed chafe on my thighs. I’ve never gotten chafe when hiking before, but did get it once before after a walk in these pants. I’m not carrying any chafe-specific product so I’m going to try putting sunscreen on it.