Day 58, 24 miles
So tired. Stay home on the big, comfy, couch day. Eating grilled cheese sandwiches. Tea and biscuits. Watch tv or do crosswords and sudokus.
It was overcast and gloomy again. I was lethargic as I set off. How am I going to hike for miles today?
I’d only been hiking for less than an hour when I stopped dead on the trail. Oh wow! There beside the trail, was a tent and two horses! I heard there was someone hiking the whole trail on horseback. I can’t believe I get to meet this person. “Hello,” I said excitedly. A beautiful, young woman emerged from the tent. She has long dark hair and striking light bluish eyes. Her name is Gillian (pronounced gill, not Jill). Her horses names are Shyla and Takoda. She already hiked the entire trail with her horses in 2014. I was a bit starstruck. I had lots of questions. How, how, how? Planning my trip was a lot of research, the logistics of attempting this hike on horses is mind boggling. She was super friendly and we chatted for quite awhile. She has flipped because of the snow, and is heading south. Gillian has a blog called pacificcrestquest. I am definitely going to be reading it when I’m done my hike.
Our friend Shepherd (Brad) has a fantastic blog too. Great photos and stories. I’ve been reading it since meeting him on the West Coast Trail in 2014. He hiked the PCT last year and is now on the CDT (Continental Divide Trail). www.bikehikesafari.com
After meeting Gillian I felt brave. As I headed north, I was where she had been hiking southbound the day before. Seeing the hoof prints on the trail and in the snow was reassuring. I was amazed how the horses could handle walking along the sides of steep snowy slopes.
The overcast skies turned to rain. I covered up and felt gloomy again.
Around noon the trail opened up to great views. The dark sky gave way to sunshine. I stopped for a rest and noticed my phone had service, 3 bars. I called Paul and we had a nice FaceTime chat. A humming bird buzzed right up to my face and I turned the phone to show Paul. He also got to see the beautiful mountains all around.
When the sun came out birds were singing and chirping. Everything got brighter. The flowers, the green leaves and plants, and my spirits.
Later in the day, I was coming up to a stream and there were others stopping for a drink. Not hikers this time. Four horses and their riders, and two mules carrying equipment. They are the Back Country Horsemen. They volunteer doing trail maintenance on the PCT. I walked behind them for few miles talking to the rider in front of me. She told me it was 100 degrees F. I must be getting used to the heat. At one point she yelled “cut it out Sally!” …..pardon me? “I was talking to the mule in front of me.”
I set my tent up at Ash camp on the McCloud river. Gorgeous spot. The sun had set and I was in my tent when I heard voices. “Moonshadow?” It was Tug and Happy! The day ended brightly.