Today was a very cold day, but the weather managed to stay nice enough to afford great views all around.  I’ve been hiking with most of the same hikers as yesterday and I’m likely to see them tomorrow at the border.  Since we passed Hart’s pass, we have been seeing hikers going south back to Hart’s pass who just finished.  That will be me tomorrow.

I got up around 6 am and played some tunes before getting ready.  It was cold, but not unbearably cold.  I managed to get on trail by 7 am and I could tell some of the hikers would be quick on my tail.

The trail climbed at least 2000 feet right off the bat.  All the vegetation was covered in frost, which is better than dew in my book.  Within ten minutes, the trail climbed above the trees and even with just a gentle wind, it was officially cold now.  I wore my down jacket while hiking uphill and I was not hot.  This is the first time I have hiked in down.

By the time the climb was over, two hours had elapsed and most of the hikers I had camped with had passed me.  They took a break just before creating the pass where the wind was blocked somewhat.  I moved on and found a sunny spot in the trees to stop and eat an early lunch.  It was only 10:30 but the combination of the cold and the big climb made me hungry.  I ate a tuna wrap and some Cheetos.  I saw all of the hikers pass me while I was eatinng.  I was only three or four miles from Hart’s pass.  Hart’s pass is the last road before Canada and where I will have to return to after I hit the border and either hitch to Mazama or wait for Ken.  I made it there about 1 pm and all the other hikers were there eating lunch.  I stopped as well and went ahead and cooked black bean soup and put a ramen in it.  The warm food felt good even though it was warming up slightly.

The afternoon felt much warmer than the morning.  Most of the areas of wet trail all morning were ice crystals, where in the afternoon, very few frozen areas remained.  I had taken off the down jacket after stopping for my first lunch and was wearing my rain jacket for the rest of the day.  There was a very brief period of a few snow flurries in the morning.  It was cold enough today for snow to stick if it did decide to unload.  There were lots of clouds but they did not look threatening.

Since there are two different trailheads near Hart’s pass and it was Sunday, I saw many day hikers within five miles of either side of Hart’s pass.  Most of them knew about the PCT and that we were near Canada, and they congratulated us on finishing.  But were not finished yet.  Thirty miles to Canada and thirty more miles back to the pass.  Sixty miles doesn’t feel like I’m done, but it feels good.

I had decided to go to a campsite that we 1000 feet lower than where most of the group was planning on camping. It was 2.5 miles further and would mean hiking until after dark, but given the low temperature I will take 5 degrees warmer just for being lower and probably in thicker trees.

I only had to use my headlamp for fifteen minutes of the hike, and Flyby and Breakaway were already there and set up.  I found a place for the hammock and set up quickly then gathered my food and went over to their area to cook.

We cooked and chatted close to an hour, until all of us got cold after eating.  Then it was a mad rush for the warm sleeping bags.  It will probably be mid twenties tonight, but I should sleep warmly enough.  I have extra clothes in the hammock with me just in case.

Where I am camped is only 17 miles from the border.  I hope to hit it about 3 PM, hoot and holler and take pictures an hour or so, then turn around to come back to Hart’s pass.  Most everyone I hiked with today is going into Canada.  I may be heading back South by myself.  Most of the trip I have hiked by myself anyway, so it will be a familiar feeling.  Just like a comfortable shoe (that is not wet from rain or dew).