Day 21 (Pete)

Another full day today. The head lamp is burning once again.

The morning miles, today also, went quickly. We are maintaining a good pace. Hunger is creeping back. Some acorns off the ground turned out to be a bitter experiment. It was still interesting to sample some of the local cuisine. The crux of the day was a four mile 3000 ft. climb from Vincent’s gap to the summit of Mt. Baden-Powell. Just for reference, that’s A LOT of elevation to gain and NOT MUCH space to do it in. About thirty switch-backs, each and every one of ’em a good climb. The final six to seven hundred feet also involved snow slogging. Snow is, as one would expect, wet, cold, slippery, mush. It really prevents me from setting a consistent pace. Not being able to establish a rhythm makes the distance harder mentally and physically. Time and distance did pass, as they always do. Baden-Powell’s summit afforded a view of one ungodly thick and solid haze of smog to the west over Los Angeles. Disgusting.

The final six miles to camp were never ending. I was beat from the climb and felt that the high point of the day had passed. After a failed attempt to begin a meditative pace, I resigned to just sloughing along.

There are three groups of hikers in this camp besides us. Bernard, by himself and playing it by ear. A young couple, Brad and Betsy, going to Yosemite on a relaxed schedule; and, Carl and Gretchen. Carl and Gretchen are in their late fifties, perhaps even sixty. They are hiking this section of trail as they have not done so before. Both seem to be veteran hikers and plan to complete the PCT in the manner many people opt for, a section at a time. Carl entertained us with a story about getting bit by a rattle snake in Snow Creek canyon and the resulting $10,000 bill from the Palm Springs hospital. The conversation was great. All seven of us sat around the same picnic table talking about the trail, our outside world lives, food. Dyl and I may have talked about food a little too much. Carl filled one of our empty spice bottles with squeeze butter and suggested we buy some sort of saturated fat as a diet supplement the next chance we get.

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