PCT DAY 7: Mile 115 (Aqua Caliente Creek) – Mile 137 (Tule Canyon Creek)
Wednesday April 20, 2016: 22 miles (35.2km)
The mornings good grace lasted till about 9.30 this morning. In this early part of the morning we walked through the most beautifully scented section of the trail. The bees were humming so hard it felt like we were walking through a beehive. The sweet mead smell given off by the most innocuous looking red flowering plant added to the feeling of walking though an apiary. The vegetation was lush and the trail was humming with life.
Before to long we left this lushness behind and started on a section of trail that can best be described as austere with chaparral bushes and rocky boulders dominating the landscape. A complete change and as the day was getting on it was also getting hotter. There was little wind and very little shelter to provide respite from the heat.
This landscape continued with trail winding up and around several gullies. It was such a relief to emerge near mile 127 and see a sign pointing to shade and water. We have arrived at Mikes Place. Some hikers dream about food while on the trail. But for me today for nearly an hour before geting to Mikes place, I day dreamed about swimming in the ocean. I replayed in mind and in slow motion the exquisite joy of diving under a cool ocean wave just as it is about to break. Everything from the chill of putting your feet in the water, watching the wave approach and then diving under feeling the cool salty water gliding over your skin. Emerging from beneath the wave, taking a breath, shaking the water from your hair, with the sun glissening like sparkling diamonds over the water surface. Such a simple pleasure, taken for granted when it’s on your doorstep. Maybe I was suffering a little heat stroke but this little scene kept me going in the heat of the day.
At Mikes place there was a huge water tank and just below a set- up with shade umbrellas. What a surprise to find Mike had also provided icy cold soft drinks and hamburgers for any hiker stopping by. A donation jar was on the table for hikers to put in whatever they felt they could afford to repay for the kindness. We probably spent a little too long here as it was so hot and the chest of icy cold drinks was very enticing.
Reluctantly we headed off again fully loaded with 6L of water each as there was no water for the next 24 miles. Just what you need in the middle of a very hot day, an increase in your pack weight.
After leaving Mikes place we had a little bit more climbing to do and soon the trail blessedly started to descend. We arrived at our makeshift campsite by Tule Canyon Creek 11 hours after leaving camp this morning. The trail today ascended to 5000 feet in elevation. It was a hard slog.
Steph I’m loving reading of your travels
More than a little envious, although it does not sound easy
Tell Mike he is allowed to change shirts!
Thank you so much Nev. Mike would dearly love to change shirts but he only has one for hiking and one T-shirt for sleeping. We are travelling superlight on gear. We need to carry so much water and food in this section.
Glad your feet are good. Are you carrying food supplies for 6 days? How does it work. Where do you re supply ?
Yes the feet are holding up OK. Just feeling a bit smashed at the end of each day. We carried food for 5 days at the start and resupplied in Warner Springs. We will resupply every 4-5 days depending on distances between towns. Most locals have sent resupply boxes which they pick up from the post office or local store which will handle packages. At this stage we have not sent any package ahead but will have to down the track in places where the trail does not pass towns with a suitable store. Excellent online resources to help you plan based on your hiking speed and elevation.
Hi Stef and Mike, glad to see you both doing well. We are enjoying your photos and comments of your amazing journey thus far. Wish you many happy trails ahead.
Lots of love Steven and Sharon
Hi Steven and Sharon, thank you so much for the lovely words and for following our trek.
Looks hot hot hot. More like I expected than your first few posts showed. I think you have piqued Clare’s interest
It was very hot Karl, even for us. Very dry kind of heat. Good to hear Clare is interested.