SWEET SMELL OF PINES
PCT DAY 68: Mile 1098.9 – Mile 1118.9
Monday June 20, 2016: 20 miles (32km)
We had high expectations today. I know it’s not good to have expectations on the PCT but it was hard not to as we has such a brilliant start to the day. It was the first time since the desert that my hands were not cold at breakfast at nd there was an almost warm breeze blowing. Maybe, just maybe we may have a snow free day.
Even though we were surrounded by snow when we left our campsite by Lake Aloha it was patchy with the trail easy to follow. By the time we reached Lake Heather we were on a beautiful trail. It was so nice to walk alongside a lake that was not frozen.
Another hiker came up behind us and we walked together towards Dicks Pass. His name was Mr Elusive and it turns out we had met way back in the desert. He was soon joined by Kibble &Bits and they took off towards the Pass.
Just as well because a mile from the summit we hit deep snow. Hammer and I were feeling deflated. We so hoped that the Pass would be snow free. However it was good to have fresh footprints to follow. The Pass is at 9,400 feet and the views of Dicks Lake and the valley below were magnificent.
The descent off the Pass was as tricky as any of the other passes we’ve traversed. Steep slopes with deep snow that was still icy in the shade of the trees. It took us some time to descend to a level where the snow cover was breaking up and sections of trail were exposed. We had great views of Dicks Lake from the trail. It was a very dark blue colour and was almost entirely ice free. We stopped here for an early lunch and were soon passed by another northbound hiker – Sprout, who was hiking with Mr Elusive and Kibble. We learnt a little bit about her and were surprised we had no met before.
And after lunch finally our expectation was realised. Just after leaving Lake Fontanillis around mile 1108 we were hiking on trail that was free of snow and it would stay that way for the rest of the afternoon. We ended up having a wonderful afternoon hiking in a pine forest until we stopped to camp by Lake Richardson. The pines warmed by the afternoon sun gave off a sweet smelling aroma of men’s aftershave. We met two other hikers who flipped from Kennedy Meadows to Castella and were on their way south. We wished Moonshine and Sweet Virginia the best of luck and happy trails. We were enjoying being back on dirt.