July 19, 2015
The night before I exchanged messages with my parents that I will be at the A-Tree spring road by noon and to have them meet me there at that time.
The hike looked pretty level along this ridge and I had no worries making it 11 miles in 5 hours. I broke camp at my normal 7am and took the day pretty easy.
The views down to the ‘Lakes Basin’ we great. Packer Lake, Deer lake, Salmon Lakes, Gold Lake, etc. They all looked popular with car campers and off road enthusiasts.
This area is also popular with mountain bikes. About an hour into my hike this guy comes down the trail doing about 30 mph. I didn’t even hear him coming when suddenly I hear him call out ‘Whoa’ as he flies off the trail to get around me on this blind corner.
I understand that single track mountain biking is fun, but there is also a reason why the PCT was set up for foot and horseback travelers only. In an area where there are a plethora of 4wd roads, why do you have to ride your bike on this trail? If it is a shared trail, you are conscious of the possibility of a bike coming through and you are aware of the potential. On a trail where bikes are prohibited, you tend to dismiss the possibility of sharing the trail with them. If this guy would have hit me, it would have ended my hiking days.
A couple miles later another mountain bike comes down the trail. I saw him up the trail and knew he would soon come up behind me. A few minutes later I hear him slowing behind me. He calls out that he is behind me, but we were in a brushy section of trail with healthy manzanita on either side…I am not going to step off the trail to let him pass. During a break in the vegetation he passes me and asks what trail he is on. I mention the PCT and he says, Oh, I better get off this…I reminded him that the fine was probably pretty expensive. At least he knew he was in the wrong.
I passed or was passed by 7 thru hikers this morning. I am definitely hiking in a portion of the main group that left Mexico in late March early April. In relation to last year when I was definitely in the tail end, it appears I am at the front end of the tail this year. This group seems to me more dedicated in reaching Canada than the tail end group I was hiking with last year.
A quarter of a mile before A-Tree Spring I reach the point 200 miles north of Sonora Pass….only 2465 miles to go.
I reach the road at 12:15pm. The seven hikers I had been hiking with today were all there for lunch. (Unfortunately, I cannot remember their names now 6 months later) 3 guys were sitting on a log and I struck up a conversation. One of them was the guy that passed me on the climb up Sierra Buttes. 5 minutes later I hear my dad’s pick up coming up the road. Can’t beat that timing! My parents had a few beers in a cooler. Unfortunately, only enough to share with the 3 guys and not the other 4 sitting over by the spring. I still feel bad that I could not offer everyone a beer, I know how much I love a cold beer.
I hate to have to jump off the trail but we have a family backpacking trip in Yosemite next weekend, but I’ll be back here at A-Tree in 2 weeks to continue on.