DEEP IN THE PINE FOREST
PCT DAY 74: Mile 1221. 5 – Mile 1247
Sunday June 26, 2016: 25.5 miles (40.8 km)
Each morning we start the hike full of wonder and excitement about what the day will bring. And this morning was no different. We left our camp by West Branch Nelson Creek and hiked through a cool, largely silent forest. The only sound was the crunch of our feet on the gravel and an occasional bird song. This was soon joined by the hum of industrious bees, busy feeding on the thousands of spring flowers lining the trail. It is wonderful to be back in the warmth of summer. All morning we alternated between hiking in the forest and open meadows covered in spring blooms. The terrain was slightly undulating which made for easy walking.
By lunchtime we realised that we were running out of water. We made a slight detour off the trail to a creek, down where the trail crosses Quincy – LaPorte Road, to filter water and have lunch. The gnats and mosquitos were ferocious which made for an uncomfortable time. We rushed to finish eating so we could escape. Not exactly a relaxing reward for a morning of hiking. Rejoining the trailhead we met up with Red Cross who was standing by a pickup truck talking to the driver. He welcomed us an offered us a beer (Bud Light) which we welcomed on such a hot day. The pickup drove off and we hiked on for a few miles with Red Cross where she stopped for lunch.
We hiked on through dense forest. Towards the end of the day the trail descended steeply to Middle Fork Feather River. Our day finished pretty much as it started, hiking through a silent forest. Just the sound of our footsteps on the pine needle bark and a gentle whistling of a breeze through the canopy, until we reached the river where we stopped for the day. It is nice to camp by a river without getting butterflies in my stomach. This one we will cross on a footbridge in the morning.