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.