6/21/18 – Sierra Welcomes Us

Day 1

Miles: 745.29 to 760.47 + 1.7 Miles to get on trail from Horseshoe Meadow

We’re in Lone Pine so we can’t miss breakfast at Alabama Hill Cafe. Like always it hits the spot.

Afterwards its a transportation time.

We get one of our fastest hitches ever from a couple from New Hampshire, Mountain Goat and Mountain Woman. Just like us they are finishing PCT this year, starting in the beginning of July. They came down earlier to do few training hikes and help hikers get back up the mountains.

Horseshoe Meadow at 9:00 am is pleasantly cool. We’re surrounded by the familiar scenery of sparse trees and dry dirt. The air carries a scent of summer.

We get to Trail Pass at 10:00. That’s surprisingly good time. It seemed to take forever to get down the trail last year. After a short break to take the moment in we are ready to take our first steps back on the PCT.

The trail meanders towards Cottonwood Pass. The flatter sections feel good. I’m thinking the altitude is not bad at all this year, until we hit an uphill and suddenly I’m thinking the altitude kind of sucks. We’re definitely feeling the altitude. Luckily we can take it slow and easy, arriving at Cottonwood Pass at 12:30 p.m.

Our next stop is at a cold refreshing creek where we briefly reconnect with Mountain Goat and Mountain Woman. You’d never guess they are in they late 60’s. They hike slower than us but consistently and with such a positive energy. They are incredible.

At this point we are already three miles past the spot we plan to camp today. Not knowing how hitch hiking would go we planned an easy 7 miler for today. Mile 10 holds some nice campsites as well but it’s only 3:00 p.m. and we feel relatively good so we consult our hiking apps to find a camp by a creek 5.9 miles away. It’s mostly downhill. We can do that.

On our way we pass a sign for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, elevation 11,320 feet. No wonder the uphill sucked.

The camp at Good Creek before Rock Creek, that’s the exact name on our Halfmile App looks nice. Somebody already camps at one of the sites. This is where our adjusted itinerary had us camp but it’s still quite early and a large site with bear boxes is available just little over a mile away. One more push.

Rock Creek is really nice. There are several sites between Good Creek and Rock Creek, water available and all but our minds are set on making it all the way down, and it’s not that far anymore.

We stroll to Rock Creek Camp at 5:15 p.m. having completed a 17-mile day. Not bad at all.

I’m expecting turtling slower tomorrow. The first thing we have to do is climb a steep 800 feet climb in about a mile distance. And we’re still in altitude.