5/21/17 – Trail Magic

Day 28
Miles: 384 to 404.24

I gladly admit that the morning sucked. After a rather peaceful night, the Boy Scouts were in their tents by 9:00 p.m., and if it wasn’t for howling of coyotes nearby, the night would have been completely quiet, we got up at 5:30 a.m. which lately worked well. Today not so much. The heat returned. Not with a vengeance but the sun was strong enough to make us sweat and after the initial rocky stretch that weaved down to Hwy 2, the trail threw a steep uphill our way.

My legs hurt when we reached the top, and I kept cursing the trail even on the downhill side when it threaded on a slope full of small slippery rock that made the descend painfully slow. 

On the other side of the hill we dropped onto Hwy 2 again and crossed it, then repeated it three more times, luckily on shorter and less steep terrain.

At mile 390 we left the trail and hiked the highway. The trail was closed for endangered yellow frogs that lived in the area. We had two alternate routes to choose from, one would add about 13 miles of hiking, the other only 1. The catch was the latter involved hiking on the curvy mountain highway. We chose the second option and since there was a very broad shoulder most of the way, we felt pretty safe.

The road walk was 2.7 miles and at its end we were to enter Buckhorn Trail which would connect us back to PCT. Things turned out differently when a sign suggested trail magic was a mile up the road.

The manager of Buckhorn Ski Lodge just recently discovered trail angeling and when we got to the lodge, fruit, pop, beer, and small snacks awaited. It was pretty awesome and the little touch of trail magic definitely turned the day for better.

The magic was not quite over yet. We walked additional 1.1 miles up the road to Clouds Burst where the highway intersects PCT and as we stopped to chat with fellow hikers, car pulled in and the driver offered us some beer.

At that point we still had 6 miles to go, which first took us around Camp Glenwood, last reliable water for next 18 miles, and then we strolled on much more familiar grade up the trail for 4 more miles before parking at a nice camp site with a view o to the valley that will swallow us tomorrow.