8 April 2021
Mike’s Place to the base of Lookout Mountain
PCT Mile 126.9 to 149.9
I had to get up to pee three times last night. This ordinarily wouldn’t be a problem, but there is a designated spot at Mike’s Place called “the shitters” that required a long windy walk through chaparral in the dark.
I also got a slow leak in my sleeping pad and had to blow it up again every couple of hours.
It was a rough night!
So I laid there at 5:30am wondering if I should wait around for the free breakfast, which wasn’t until 7. It was an easy choice. I packed up and was on trail by 6!
I leapfrogged with another early riser named Goose and at one point I fell in behind him and we ended up hiking together the whole day.
He got his trail name because his buddies who gave him rides to the PCT twice gave him a small bottle of Grey Goose which he promptly gave away to the same group of hikers! They started calling him Goose and the name stuck.
He’s from Omaha and spends part of the year in Colorado and is married with adult children like me. It was really fun chatting the whole day, especially through this long dry stretch right before getting to town.
We headed down into Nance Canyon and then had to climb 1500 feet in the hot afternoon sun to make it to Mary’s Place, our next water source.
Mary’s is a sweet spot with shade, picnic tables, and a large water tank. It also has a little free library and large images of Whitman, Muir, and Thoreau overlooking the whole scene. In her trail register she asked people to say what they learned in 2020. I wrote a lot of blah-blah-blah that essentially said that virtual life is not life.
Goose and I decided to head for a spot close to the road so we could go in early for breakfast to Paradise Valley Cafe.
We were almost to camp when we saw a strange growth on a tree branch that seemed to be heavily guarded by ants. I looked it up on iNaturalist and it turns out to be a slime mold (leocarpus fragilis) that has a symbiotic relationship with the ants.
Our camp was right at the base of Lookout Mountain, which has some lovely badlands. We met a nice woman named Jess already camped here who let us squeeze in with her into the last available tent space. Dinner conversation was fun!
A Note to Mary About 2020
This is what I learned:
Ten zoom meetings are not worth
A walk with a friend