PCT 2019: Day 154, Tentsite at Mile 1555.9 to Porcupine Lake

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day

I have a confession to make.

I don't enjoy every moment of every day I'm on the trail. It doesn't happen often, but some days like today simply don't hold my interest for the whole day. It was difficult to maintain enthusiasm for all of today's nearly 25 miles.

Undoubtedly, I'm starting to see the end of my hike. My mind sometimes drifts to thoughts of when I don't have to walk every day. I'm sure weariness from all the miles I've already hiked has set in.

There may be other reasons for today's malaise. Perhaps I've grown accustomed to the steady stream of sights. The mountains, trees, rocks, and wildlife are beautiful, but maybe I've started needing a change of scenery.

Or it could be my calorie intake was a little off. I can't say for sure what caused me to be bored, but I didn't have my heart into what I was doing for much of today.

DateTuesday, October 8, 2019
WeatherClear sky with a high temperature near 70
Trail ConditionsMostly flat trail with a few rocky sections
Today's Miles24.6
Trip Miles2308.1

As usual, Bluejay left before me this morning. I didn't see her again until the end of the day when I reached camp. In between, I didn't see another hiker on the trail.

I didn't take as many photos today as I usually do. This wasn't because the scenery was uninteresting. I was mostly focused on finishing the day's hike.

The temperature felt a little colder this morning than the last couple of days. I don't think it dropped below freezing, however.

I left our campsite shortly after 6:30 a.m., which was before dawn. I needed to use my headlamp for the first 30 minutes I was on the trail.

Fortunately, the day warmed up soon after the sun rose.

The elevation didn't change much. With my mind already put in neutral, the nearly-level terrain made this a good day to crank out miles.

Our campsite last night was at 6,112 feet above sea level. The highest point of the whole section I hiked today was only 1,400 feet higher. Getting there was so gradual it didn't make a noticeable difference in my hiking pace.

The trail continued to follow the Scott Mountains. From a spot overlooking Bull Lake, I could see Mt. Shasta again.

Until recently, the section I was walking today was not permanently protected. This had been the longest privately-owned stretch of the PCT.

A deal completed in June this year secured 10,300 acres of land along the trail. It took five years of negotiations and fundraising by the Trust for Public Land, the Pacific Crest Trail Association, and the federal government to complete the purchase.

The $15 million purchase price was paid for by private donations, a grant from The Wyss Foundation and funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

My weariness became especially noticeable when I passed an outcropping near the trail just before noon. It occurred to me this ledge was almost like McAfee Knob, which is a popular photo spot on the Appalachian Trail.

To be sure, the rock's overhang wasn't nearly as dramatic, Still, I thought the right camera angle could make an impressive photo if I were standing on the outcropping.

There wasn't anyone here to take a photo of me on the rock, however, so I just kept going.

I was surprised to find snow in the afternoon. It appeared as a small patch where the trail crossed a talus slope. I had assumed all of the snow would be melted by now.

Most likely, this was the last of the snow from the storm that passed through eight and nine days ago.

When I passed Deadfall Lake, I didn't bother to take a photo. It was pretty, but I was feeling so unmotivated I just ignored it and kept on walking. The trail was heading to the highest point of the day and this was the only time it felt like a climb.

Then near the top of the climb, I saw I had cell phone service, so I called Kim. Hearing her voice lifted my spirits. We talked more about our plans for when she will fly into Sacramento and pick me up when I finish the trail.

I sent her a photo of my view of Mt. Shasta. She asked if I had to climb it, and I was glad to report the trail didn't go over the summit.

Toad Lake came into view at 5:45 p.m. Seeing it told me I was less than a mile from a side trail to Porcupine Lake. This was where Bluejay and I had planned to stop.

Once again, I completed my mileage for the day earlier than expected. Our campsite was a lovely spot. It was the kind of place that would likely be crowded during the summer, but we had to ourselves.

By the end of the day, I was no longer feeling bored or grumpy. It felt good to complete nearly 25 miles and still be done before sundown.

And tomorrow, I will get to do this all over again.

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

From "Time" by Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Richard Wright, and David Gilmour (Pink Floyd)


"Nothing to tell now. Let the words be yours, I'm done with mine."ref.