Day 34: A Hard Day

4 May 2021
Golden Oaks Spring to Landers Meadow Spring
PCT Mile 583.3 to 608.9

I slept really well in my oak nook last night, so this morning I packed up quickly and hit the trail with a bounce.

And I needed it! Today was a hot, windless 25 mile day with over 5,000 feet of elevation gain and a 19 mile water carry. I’m pooped and really glad tomorrow is a lower mileage day to get to water. I’ve done two 25s in a row, but tomorrow I will cut it to 22.

Sunrise was beautiful through the woods near Golden Oaks, but soon I was weaving in and out of a massive wind farm project. It is literally spilling out onto the PCT, which is full of detours in this area.

Sunrise from Golden Oaks
Cotton candy!
Cache Peak
One of several detours today

Sunfox passed me mid-morning and then I was on my own for most of the day. At one point I was so tired I just took a break right in the middle of the trail.

Foothill deathcamas
Coast indian paintbrush
Western whiptail
Blainville’s horned toad
Fields full of lupines
I’m just gonna sit down right here

I passed two sets of section hikers heading southbound, a couple in their 70s (very cute!) and two guys in their 40s. Both times I welcomed the chance to chat about water and the heat! The second set warned me about a section with dozens of blowdowns, and indeed it was like steeplechase getting through there.

Blowdown central

Near Robin Bird Spring I caught up with Racoon, a 47 year old who teaches English in Thailand. We hiked the remaining few miles together, which was great because we could take each other’s pictures at the 600 mile marker.

Hiking with Racoon
600 miles!

There were lots of hikers at the spring waiting out the heat. I was so tired I forgot to take a picture! Three of us decided to continue on to Landers Meadow, including MacGyver (who has fixed several things on trail) and Benjamin “Button” (previously Max, he got his name because he looks much younger than his real age, 30).

The three of us leapfrogged the next seven miles to finish out the day, as the trail climbed out of the desert into a lovely pine forest. It was hard! But the water at the next spring was awesome after such a dry, hot day, and the campsite was pretty, with lots of flat space under pine trees and even pit toilets!

Spreading phlox
Landers Meadow
Button at Landers Meadow Spring

I ate dinner chatting with Lone Wolf and Button and then crawled into my tent.

Good night!

Today’s Hike-U:

Adapting to the Trail
Today needed grit,
But I do not want to quit,
Just slow down a bit

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