PCT Day 51: Mile 705-728 The Swallow Bridge



The birds, the birds!!

I woke in the night looking up at the clear sky through my flyless tent, it was nice. I staggered out of my tent, used the restroom and made it back through the dark to lay down just half an hour before my alarm blasted.

Up with the sun, down with the sun, its the thru hiker way. I was soon on my feet all packed up, including bear canister and ice axe, ready for the snow. Pack heavy I carried on, the guys were up and I waved bye as I pressed on.

The trail snaked through the pine forest before finally entering a large valley where we gained a saddle. Through the miles I met Data with Heaven, and saw Kathryn trailside taking a break by the creek. Data and Heaven were Ultralight boys, I could never figure out how having no hipbelt was good for your back . . .

We trekked on up and past the saddle before settling down into the open meadow beyond. It was nice trekking, we could see snowcapped mountains in the distance. Bend after turn we finally came to a foot bridge. The coolest thing about the footbridge is that its underside was infested with Swallows who were highly active! They would bob in and out of their little nests then fly off together in a big circle soon returning. It was mezmirizing to watch them work and I sat creek side. Soon Ladybug, Cowboy, and Sissyphus joined.

It was the nicest and best break ive ever taken on the PCT. I got in the water, it was invigorating but not frigid. I dried out in the sun, had a snack, chatted, and somehow managed to take a nap. I almost felt guilty there by the creekside, then looking around and seeing all the other hikers that arrived and followed suite, it made it not so much of a guilty pleasure.

None the less it was time to press on. I packed up and headed out, waving bye to the boys. The open high desert lead to a pine forest which had some nice overheade coverage which was nice because the gain started picking up. The granite boulders started showing themselves and this seemed like the Sierras I know from past trips. Tall pines, white rock and white padded trail. The gain was constant and a good 2500 feet later I found Ladybig chilling by a rock. I joined and enjoyed the chance to chill. We chatted on joking around as Cowboy and Sissyphus rolled in joining.

It was just 3.9 miles to water and we all strolled them with ease. The views were amazing and the afternoon light lit of the rocks and trees in its own special golden way. Finally we arrived and after dinner, filtering , and stretches, soon found ourselves tucked away in our tents as the sun set. A great day indeed!

Hiker Profile:

Data – 27, from Vermont. A fairweather hiker, he chose the PCT as it first his nature best. Managed a production facility that made baked goods for 5 years before deciding to do something different. An ultralight hiker, carrying very light gear and little of it. He boasted that him and heaven would do 35 miles on average and sometimes 40. They took no breaks and hiked from dawn to dusk.

Kathryn: 30s/40s very nice and well mannered gal from Portland. Always wanted to do the PCT, was actually discouraged when the book and movie Wild came out as the trail was swamped with hikers. She said it seemed like a good year, and the traffic has diminished, so it seemed right!