April 21 (~08:00 – ~19:00)
After Three Points junction – after Big Buck Trail Camp (20.2 mi / Total: 424.4 mi)
Weather: Great hiking weather. Generally warm, some chilly wind but not too much.
I experience the most glorious way to wake up – I stay in bed. The tentsite I’m at is perfect, it catches the early sun rays while I hear Speedy and Prince get ready for the day. They tell me they want to do another twenty mile day – it’s too much information. I like to walk without an aim, but now it’s stuck in my head.
When I eventually head off myself I feel that my pack is finally getting a little lighter with the horrible resupply I got, but it’s still too heavy, and I have a lot of food left considering I’m already headed into the next town for resupply in just a few days. It’s such a waste of energy to be carrying so much.
The trail reminds me of those days after Big Bear, that Californian desert trail, with pines, cacti, burnt trees and meandering routes through hilly dunes, all the bushes pale from the sun. It’s a car boot sale of everything that lives out here. Then slowly the vegetation grows thicker and I’m sidling along a hill again.
The one downside to my later start is the conundrum of hikers, all camped in the same few miles and starting their day around the same time. The first group rejoins the trail just as I pass, and the distinct scent of unwashed PCT thruhiker stink trails behind them, so I wait a moment to create a gap, before I continue.
I get a little bored with the repetitive landscape, and when I pass another group I ask if they feel the same, and they look at me like I’m crazy. ‘It’s going to get better, just around the corner!’ They joke, but they are right. I find a stream, get more water and climb to the top of the hill, where the trail turns to a lovely forest, and I take a long break overlooking the mountains below and the populated valley.
I keep walking along the mountains, my eyes peeled for Poodle Dog Bush. I spot some here and there, but it’s off the trail enough not to have to worry about it. As I walk along I begin to realise it’s Sunday – I keep seeing dayhikers. This doesn’t happen very often. It’s strange to be suddenly confronted with time like that. Hours, days, weekends. It’s as though the PCT is timeless.
One of the main water sources today is from a faucet next to a fire station that the trail crosses, but I find a small stream just before, so I don’t have to go up the road to the station. I see all the hikers I’ve been leapfrogging with there, trying to find a patch of rare shade in the heat of day, so I keep on going.
I take a late second break in a hidden little spot off trail and I watch the others pass once again. When I start again I have more energy – eating as usual was a good idea. Then Speedy texts me that her and Prince are three miles ahead, which means they’ve done more than a 20 mile day, and for a moment I’m excited because I’m keen to keep moving for just a little longer.
I put more electrolytes in my drink to power on, turn a few corners and see them camped in the bushes, at the twenty mile spot. Speedy did some bad calculations converting kilometres to miles, and suddenly my day is over. Both her and Prince are having ankle issues, so they are thinking of doing a few shorter days into Agua Dulce, with it’s famous Hiker Heaven, but I’m keen to get there as soon as I can. I have a few more things to do, so I’d like a little more time in town, although I don’t want to stay a full day.
For now I find a spot in between the prickly bushes and set up my tent in the wind. The views over the valley are great, but it gets cold quickly so I close my tent and sleep.