I would spend a lot of time this morning at Donner Pass Ski Lodge with Mr. Clean, Back-Track and Ranger. The Lodge wasn't open, but they did have outlets on the outside of the building which is always handy. With hopes of eating real eggs for breakfast, the three of us hung out to see if the place would open at a reasonable hour. Eventually someone from around the area told us that it didn't open up till 11:00 am.
I waited around for another half an hour while my phone and battery pack charged, then called my brother to wish him a happy birthday again! On Day 77, I was unsure about the cell service ahead, so I called my Brother to wish him a happy birthday, however, his birthday was really on Day 79... today. It so happened I had non-stop cell service for the previous few days. It's been great knowing it's there... but it's also a real distraction. I'd look at my phone, see that I currently have solid cell service, get excited because I could do things on my phone, realize I didn't have anything I needed or wanted to do on my phone, then turn it back off. It was an endless cycle, but that's what happens when you go 2 or more weeks without having any service. Eventually I would stop doing this and only look for service when I needed to call home.
After leaving Donner Pass, I really needed to find a place to do some business. The challenge was that the PCT paralleled a busy highway without too much cover. Also there were a couple large groups of children learning how to rock climb. With so many people around, I had to really search a ways off-trail to find an appropriate spot. Even then I was always on the look out for the stray hiker who could come around a corner I hadn't noticed. Fun times.
The rest of the day I was mostly in dense forest with little to no view, lots of mosquitoes and the smoke from nearby wildfires started to fill up the valleys. At some points the smoke was dense enough that I could taste it in my mouth as I breathed. Once on top of a high ridge above the smoke, I could see that there was a fire burning to the south. The wind was pushing the smoke toward my location, but it was far enough away that I wasn't concerned about it reaching me tonight or tomorrow and tomorrow I would be trying to hike to Sierra City, a little over 25 miles away.
As evening rolled around, I was in some serious pain from a "hot spot" on the heel of my right foot. Because of it, I moved as quickly as possible for the last 2 miles so I could get off my feet and have a look at the damage. A note: while in South Lake Tahoe, I walked many miles around town in my camp shoes... or rather pieces of lightweight durable rubber with straps on the top. This was a big mistake! In town, I earned a medium size blister that I took care of and it had been feeling okay. Today it all came back to bite me.
Tonight's camp was with an older backpacker, Paragee, and we did the mosquito dance was we setup our tents and gathered water from a nearby stream.
WARNING: The last image is of a massive blister on my foot. It may be disturbing to you. I think it's pretty impressive.