It’s all about me. Today was my 50th birthday, and other than the rain, it was a good day. I stumbled upon a cabin right at noon and stopped for lunch but it was full of hikers who made me a breakfast scramble “cake” complete with a candle to blow out. And like a fool, I left afterwards to finish hiking in the rain.
It didn’t rain overnight and was quite chilly, but I wore another layer to bed and was warm as toast. I woke up at 5:30 and started up the music as I slipped my clothes into the sleeping bag with me to preheat them. Big, were they cold. It took at least ten minutes just to warm myself back up, much less the clothes. I finally dressed, and the preheat worked as I was not chilled at all.
I added my down layer and went back South on the trail to get water. The spring was flowing pretty slowly, and I was collecting water it started to rain. Great. I ran back to the campsite to make sure nothing was getting wet and took my down jacket off and tried to sponge it off. I got packed up quickly and headed out.
I guess today was not the best day to put on dry socks. I tried to avoid every.piece of vegetation possible, but in under 15 minutes my socks were wet. Oh well, I still have one last dry pair for hiking that I can save for later. It rained on and off all morning. It even snowed for about five minutes.
When I stopped for a snack break I checked the trail ahead and noticed that there was a cabin that I would hit about noon. That would be a great opportunity to cook a hot lunch and save a cold one for a rainy day. Well, a rainy day without a cabin.
I hit the cabin just before noon and it was full of people, so I set my gear out in the porch and hung a few things in nails to dry. Two people left shortly after I arrived so there was more room to scope the place out. They had a wood stove going full bore, there were three cots, and an upstairs loft for sleeping. I hung yesterday’s wet socks above the stove to dry.
There were two hikers there who were taking a week off to do trail magic for other hikers, a girlfriend of one of them, and two other hikers who had been there for five days. Yes, I said five days. I don’t know who the other two who left were.
I began cooking some black beans and rice just as the two running the show began cooking something. They had bacon cooking, potatoes cooking over the wood stove, then started making cornmeal flapjacks and gravy. I had finished my lunch and was packing up to leave at 1:30 when one of them urged me to stay and eat with them. It looked good and how could I refuse?
They cooked and cooked and at 2:30 it was finally ready. Somehow they had found out it was my birthday so they out a tea candle on it and sang happy birthday. It was quite nice. And it tasted great. Two of the other hikers had also had birthdays on the trail. When you think about it, the normal time to hike the PCT is six months, so on average half of the hikers will have a birthday on the trail.
I asked them for one of their ginger ales to lack out for the evening and offered to contribute to the food fund, but they would not take my.money. happy birthday to me, indeed. I packed up again and finally headed out at 3 PM. Alot later than I wanted, but the delay was worth it.
Once out in the cold rain, it was evident how warm and inviting the cabin was. It would have been so easy to spend the evening there and drink whiskey all night long. But that’s not my style and with Canada so close I don’t want to waste too much time. Rain is inevitable in hiking and hiding from it just makes the whole trip drag on. It’s not fun, but there are far worse things. Things like wildfires.
Later in the afternoon the rain let up and I could see a few mountains and even saw a rainbow. The sun peeked out at splotches around the mountains, but never shone on me. I picked out a campsite on the map that I should be able to hit just after dark, so a little night hiking could make up some of the most time in the cabin. I was getting hot spots on both heels, so I thought I should stop and change into the socks I dried at the cabin. Sure enough, blisters were forming on both heels. Three days of hiking in wet shoes will do that. I was wishing now that I had taken my shoes off at the cabin and let both pairs of socks and feet dry. I won’t make that mistake again. I put bandaids on and changed socks and set off again. It was less than five minutes before these socks were wet again, but they were slightly drier than the pair I just took off.
When I got to the campsite about twenty or thirty minutes after dark, there was already someone camping there. No worries, I had plenty of energy and a hammock, so I would find one further on. It took about thirty.minutes to find the ideal site with just the right size trees far enough apart and no vegetation underneath them.
I set up the hammock,.cooked dinner of parmesian noodles, drank my ginger ale, and rolled into bed. It’s 33 miles to the next resupply point that has one hotel, a few restaurants and a brewery. I won’t make it tommorow, but I should be able to roll in early enough Wednesday to get all my chores done quickly enough to have time to hit the brewery. Mmm, beer.