Slept ok, first night on my new foam pad Therm-a-rest ZLite Sol. That pad is so practical… At any short rest during the day, I can throw it to the floor and lay down for a while. No risks for punctures… It is just a foam pad. Gear of the day award.
Normal routine, woke up around 6am, hit the trail around 7am. Today I was facing a 20 mile hike. All downhill, about 7000 feet, the longest descent on the complete PCT. I would find out later that downhill doesn’t mean fast. On the contrary… Being careful with my knees, I barely made 2-2.5 miles per hour.
Later the day I got news from a fellow hiker that he needs a longer break from the trail due to serious knee pain. These issues from other hikers keep floating around in my head… You can’t go super slow and careful all the time… But you can also risk your hike with one wrong step.
Talking about that wrong step. I was listening to music in the afternoon…
Song of the day: Melissa Etheridge – I run for life
I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth, for all that is real
(lyrics from Melissa Etheridge)
When I realized that there was rattling sound that doesn’t fit to the song, I was standing right next to a rattlesnake.
My heart skipped a few beats. I was told by another hiker to keep distance at least equal to the length of the snake… I was walking by just about 50cm of it, didn’t see it in the grass next to the trail until I was standing right next to it.
I continued without music for a while… 😂
The descent to the water and tentsite at mile 206 took a lot of time. 4 miles out, it looked like you could touch… But once again, the trail kept following the mountains into the next canyon and the target was out of sight again for another 2 hours.
I finally arrived and pitched my tent around 5pm, the sun still heating up the whole valley. A few other hikers were discussing to take an Uber to the nearby town Cabazon and eat burgers there. When the three other hikers from my group came in, we opted for just that. We left tents and packs, walked about a mile to the next street, rode in an Uber for about 20min and had a feast at In-n-out!
After that feast, walking back the mile to the tentsite was not easy, but a beautiful walk under the stars and moonlight.
The night was warm… Only used my sleeping bag as a blanket, fell asleep with a view on the beautiful night sky.