After less than a month in the Sierras we found ourselves in Sierra City with the last official mountain of what’s consider the “Sierra” in front of us, the Sierra Buttes. I’d hiked through 3 National Parks, been hailed on, swam in alpine lakes for days on end, got eaten by mosquitoes, fell asleep listening to rain pitter patter on my tent and much more in such a short amount of time as I traversed the Sierra Nevada Range. After this carry we would find ourselves climbing out of Sierra City into NorCal and onto the first mountains of the Cascade and Klamath Ranges.
Leaving Tahoe was tough, I was tired and beat from walking 1,100 miles but I knew I had more to go. The section from Echo Lake to Sierra City was beautiful and the perfect kind of terrain I needed. I didn’t take many pictures this time around because I felt as if I was too busy moving through terrain. In the high Sierra I felt like I needed to capture every vista but now I felt as if I needed to move out of and on from these mountains as fast as I could.
The Desolation and Granite Chief Wildernesses were a treat, some final alpine beauty. Getting near Truckee we had cell signal on and off everyday and it was a pleasure to reconnect with normal life a bit after being removed in the mountains for a very long time. It was a weird but wonderful section from Tahoe to Sierra City. The ease and enjoyment were hopefully a sign of good things to come in the following weeks.
The plan for the rest of July is to get out of California by the end of the month. My best guess is I’ll get over the boarder on August 6th. There’s a lot more to come in NorCal (Lassen National Park, the halfway point, etc.) but I’m excited to leave California in a few weeks. I’m ready for big progression in this journey and I’m confident I can make it the rest of the way.
Mentally thru-hiking can have it’s days where it’s harder than anything you do in your regular life. You spend 12 hours a day walking and some days you end up walking alone with your thoughts. Your mind can play tricks on you, it can encourage you and it can tell you to sit down by a lake and enjoy the afternoon breeze even though you still need to cover 15 more miles. The challenge is real and in Northern California, after many of us have now spent over two months on the trail it’s something you have to pay attention to. My goal for the next month is to stay positive, to be a beacon going north for both myself and those around me. There’s tough days ahead but I’m excited for the challenge.
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The PCT stands for the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,653 route extending from Mexico to Canada along the west coast of the United States. Every year several thousands attempt it and only a few hundred finish.