Daily mileage: 26, but really I have no clue
417- 443 (with some circles and road walking in between)
Woke up bright and early to get out of our stealth camp and hit the ranger station (which turned out to be a fire station) with a whole mess of other hikers camped behind it and a faucet. Thank god for water and free hiker box breakfasts. Life would be so boring without you. (hiker boxes are where hikers tend to toss unwanted items like extra food which tend to be mystery food in a bag until actually eaten).
Across the highway yet again and up the trail went.
And then the poodle dog started. Remember this is the most gossiped about thing on the PCT right now (other than the Sierra snowpack and piles of downed trees). Rumor has it that the rash is super bad, someone described it as like an acid burn. But no one has gotten it yet that we've run across so we just avoid it like the plague.
Now picture an overgrown trail of poodle bush, I think I looked completely crazy. You would get this short break and then halfway run and hop through the trail shuffling sideways and turning and trying to get to the next small break.
When it first started it wasn't too bad, then it got ridiculous.
After 3 miles or so of this, laughing all the way at the insanity the trail hit a fire road. Quick conference with the cousins and it was decided no more trail, we were road walking. It was an optional detour but hiking poodle dog speed just wasn't worth it. So after only a few pointless circles (yeah all the dirt roads are definitely not on anyone's maps).
The road started us climbing quick and after walking through a very creepy burned out building complex we started a killer climb. The poodle dog was creeping up at us on the road and between the creepy burned building and the killer plant we decided we had the perfect setup for a bad horror movie. I mean 3 lost hikers in a burned out prison camp with an evil plant. What else could you want.
After all that climbing we headed down and hit an amazing siesta spot at the North Fork Ranger Station. Water still off but picnic tables, shade, and a water cache. Chatted with the guy who lives up there, and made some new hiker friends.
Continued our trek down the mountain, only a few ridiculous contours and elevation gains but no water. Stopped just a little short of the Acton KOA campground with a nice flat spot and a sunset. Tomorrow is to town and the amazing hospitality of the Saufleys.
Flowering poodle dog
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