Oh well. We were out here now. We walked on a ridge while clouds boiled up behind us. In the distance, Lake Tahoe shimmered, impossibly large. We were in peak flower season, and we speculated on the names of the large yellow and pink flowers Ridge walking! Does it get any better?
|Clouds are happening.|
|Lake Tahoe, out there.|
A road came in here, a bail-out point of sorts. Nobody was bailing! We felt good and the trail was ours. I tried to ignore the distant sound of thunder. Maybe it would go in the opposite direction?
We passed a creek where a section hiker was getting water. "This is home for the night," he said, but it was only 3:30 and we felt compelled to make more miles. That compulsion turned to envy as rain, then hail, pelted us. Reluctantly we pulled out our rain jackets. I wavered, Rain pants or not? It was always a gamble. Hiking in them is annoying, and surely the rain would go away. I decided to chance it.
Our chosen campsite, Miller Creek, was awash in puddles. No. No. Flash and I barely broke stride. We had to push on, and finally we reached Richardson Lake, a shallow lake blanketed by campers. Strolling up an old jeep road, we spied a perfect site--but alas, it was taken by others. Finally we chose a semi-desperation camp, a small spot that would fit our tents. As we threw them up in the rain, a familiar sound rang through the woods. Was it the twittering of birds in the wilderness? No! It was...OHVs. We had imagined we were in the Desolation Wilderness, but it appeared that the boundary excluded this little piece of paradise.
Because I had chosen not to wear rain pants, my hiking skirt was soaked. I shivered as I pulled on my long underwear and crawled in my sleeping bag. Despite the gloomy weather, the mist rising off the lake was a beautiful sight. There would be no swimming, not tonight.
Unable to summon up the courage to cook dinner in the rain, we munched trail mix inside of our tents. As darkness fell, a large vehicle drove by. What could you do but laugh? This was life on the PCT. It was never exactly what you expected. We were just along for the ride.
In the distance, Dicks Pass loomed, a behemoth at over 9,000 feet. We would hit it at mid-day, when it was the hottest. What if there was a thunderstorm? What if this was the pass that told me I really was old, could no longer hike long distances?
I reached for more trail mix. Across the lake, the OHVs ran up and down the road. On a long hike, like a long run, like your life, you have to break it down into manageable sections. Five miles, then a break. Five more miles, another break. We would get there, and know everything we didn't know tonight.
to be continued...