In about 30 days I will meet my family at Mazama Village, a resupply point at Crater Lake in Oregon. I crunched the numbers, figuring out that I needed to hike 18.4 miles per day to be at Mazama Village on time. 18.4 miles per day doesn't seem too difficult. But I must remember, that number doesn't allow for any zero days... or rather I must hike extra miles (18.4 to be exact) if I am to take a zero day and not fall behind.
At the end of each day on-trail, I would tally up the extra miles I had hiked and added it to the previous day. It became a ritual that helped me greatly getting through some of the more tedious miles of Northern California as well as helped me with my longing to see my family.
Passing through mile 1300 was a great feeling. Knowing that a short distance beyond would be the PCT Halfway Point. At the top of today's major climb (the one I started yesterday evening) I had an incredible view of Mount Lassen. It is the first in line (hiking northbound) of the many volcanic peaks the PCT passes. I also called my dad, with limited cell service I could stand in one particular spot for good reception, but 2 feet away would cause the call to be inaudible.
Traversing back down the hillside, I was looking to stop at Cold Springs for lunch. There I would find Strapless, Vertigo and one other hiker refilling water and eating lunch. I remember this spring was correctly named, being ice cold in 90+ degree weather, it was welcomed with open arms, until I dumped a liter of it over my head. Then all I wanted was to stand in the warm Noon sunlight.
I had hiked about half the distance for the day and after leaving this very memorable lunch spot the trail was mine. Not seeing a single soul until camp, I found myself in a rhythm where the miles passed like a hot knife through butter. There were a few good view points of the surrounding area and even fewer glimpses of Mt. Lassen, but those always brought a smile to my face.
Camp tonight was with Strapless and Vertigo, but there were very few sites by the spring, so I ventured a little ways away from them to find flatter ground in which to pitch my tent. Throughout the night, the deer in the area ran up, down and all around my selected campsite. I would hear stories tomorrow of hikers encountering, not so shy bears. I have fully entered the area known for its unafraid, no good, food eating and midnight sleep interupting Black Bears.