Author Topic: The PCT Volume 19 Redux: Katie and I Get Back On the Trail (Barely)  (Read 185 times)

Brad Young

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The word redux means “brought back; revived.”

Katie and I did that over the last few days. Sort of.

Regular readers of this long, long series of trip reports know that our family PCT journey started with both daughters and me at the Mexican border in 2007. Then and now we've been wonderfully supported on these hikes by my wife Vicki.

Daughter Katie's part of the journey "ended" in 2013. She finished a trip with us that summer by hiking out to Lake Thomas Edison, almost 900 trail miles from the Mexican border (she's occasionally joined us for parts of the trail since then, but her "continuous, from-the-border" footsteps ended with that trip). We left the day after that hike for her orientation at U.C.S.B.  She headed off to attend college there that same summer. Here's a link to what was Katie's last PCT trip:

http://www.mudncrud.com/forums/index.php?topic=1903.0


Over  the ensuing eight years, Katie's finished university and become a backpacking guide. For years now she's guided hiking and backpacking trips in Yosemite and Yellowstone, finding winter work at ski resorts and restaurants. She's got a hell of a good life, centered part of the year in California, and most of it in Montana. Vicki and I are extremely proud of the woman she's become.

This week, Katie had time off between guiding a trip in Yosemite and other, California, friend-centered activities. She asked if I would do a backpacking trip with her while she had time. Naturally I agreed immediately. She left the itinerary up to me and I thought it'd be fun to “re-start” the PCT by way of a five day backpack. Obviously we would resume where she left off in 2013.

On Sunday, Vicki drove us down to the Bear Ridge Trailhead next to Lake Thomas Edison:










Smoke from the Sequoia fire was terrible in the Central Valley while we drove. It got quite a bit better though as we gained elevation on the drive in. Smoke was only “noticeable” when we started hiking and by the end of the day it was  probably only at a “1” on a scale of 1 to 10:







We hiked 5.7 miles on Bear Ridge Trail, to the point on the PCT where Katie had left in 2013 (two shots, one from 2013, one from this trip):







We then continued 4.2 miles on the PCT itself, including a long, long 2,000 foot plus descent to Mono Creek (where we camped):













A fairly late arrival left us to clean up trail-dusty legs in the creek, fix dinner by headlamp, and then crawl into bed.

Between the driving and the extra hiking getting back to where we'd previously left off, getting today's "bit" of the PCT done was a significant production. Small though it was, I went to bed quite happy to get this little bit done and even happier to be set up for more actual PCT milage over the next few days.



Brad Young

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Re: The PCT Volume 19 Redux: Katie and I Get Back On the Trail (Barely)
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2021, 07:29:47 AM »
The smoke yesterday affected Katie quite a bit. She "felt like she had a cold" after we'd been hiking for just a few hours. I didn't notice it  much, but I've learned over the years to listen to Katie's thoughts and opinions. Especially if/when she tells me she's not enjoying herself (it takes a while, as they grow up, when you're a dad).

As we went to bed last night, we hoped that colder, down-canyon, night-time breezes would blow the smoke away and that we’d wake up to clear skies.

It didn't work out that way though. I woke up first. In the half light it looked very smoky. As it got lighter it became apparent that the smoke was not only not gone, it was present and really, really bad. It was so bad that, even after it got fully light, I couldn't see the canyon walls to either side (stare at the first shot to dimly make out a canyon wall):







Katie woke up and noticed the air “quality” immediately. To say the least, she didn't like the idea of hiking in air this "thick." Yesterday's hike gave her a splitting headache in addition to the common cold symptoms, and air like this will only be worse.

I felt like continuing regardless of the smoke, but I also understood that it wouldn't be pleasant. I made it clear that I'd be good if Katie wanted to hike out instead of continuing. After considering options (continuing on and/or different possible exit points) and satellite-texting back-and-forth with Vicki we decide that continuing would be just too miserable (and, as Katie pointed out, an intended highlight of the day, the peak we'd hoped to summit which is just off our trail, wouldn't just be miserable, there wouldn't be any views from its top either).

Our exit would be by way of Lake Thomas Edison. Six miles of fairly level hiking to a point only half a mile from where we'd started yesterday. This seemed like a bummer, but the conditions absolutely called for it; it’s clear that we won't enjoy hiking in these conditions at all (pun semi-intended).

The bigger bummer though is that Vicki’s got to drive all the way back to pick us up after continuing on to her sister's house in Los Angeles yesterday. Two back-to-back 11 hour driving days for poor Vicki! Yuck. She’s understanding and willing though, and so the three of us (Halifax included, of course) start the hike out:







The air has been bad to look at. Actually hiking in it though is much worse. Eyes and lungs feel it. Although the trail is fairly flat the slight  uphills makes these parts burn with heavier breathing. I for one feel like I'm near a campfire and the smoke won't stop following me around. Damn. Although we started the discussion this morning with different views, Katie was right. Look at this crap - the sun itself barely burns through (Katie later checks the Air Quality Index near the lake and shocks me with the number - 229):













As we hike Katie makes it clear that she's willing to come back, again, and pick up where we've just left off. And with the 4.2 mile "connecting" section of trail done, we can ride the Lake Edison ferry for five miles on a subsequent trip (the water is way too low in the lake and it isn't running this year). We talk about maybe coming back next June, in cleaner, clearer conditions, with more water.

She's a pretty busy woman, but she seems to make time for me. We’ll see what we can get done.



briham89

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Re: The PCT Volume 19 Redux: Katie and I Get Back On the Trail (Barely)
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2021, 10:23:08 AM »
Bummer about the smoke, but super cool that you guys "restarted" where you left off.

Brad Young

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Re: The PCT Volume 19 Redux: Katie and I Get Back On the Trail (Barely)
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2021, 10:47:07 AM »

...but super cool that you guys "restarted" where you left off.


Yep. And to think, you were around here when she thought that I was the least cool substance in the universe....


clink

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Re: The PCT Volume 19 Redux: Katie and I Get Back On the Trail (Barely)
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2021, 01:16:02 PM »
 "Yep. And to think, you were around here when she thought that I was the least cool substance in the universe...."

 I remember you telling me about those days and could relate so well. (rephrase)

 
Causing trouble when not climbing.

Brad Young

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Re: The PCT Volume 19 Redux: Katie and I Get Back On the Trail (Barely)
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2021, 04:02:25 PM »
^^^

You might as well just retire Clink (and give me all your climbing gear).

You're never gonna do better than  naming routes:

-  Joaquin the Dog

-  Rituals and Magic.

Give it up.

clink

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Re: The PCT Volume 19 Redux: Katie and I Get Back On the Trail (Barely)
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2021, 05:15:10 PM »

 I did retire after Mud Diamond. Just a mobile anchor now, once in a blue moon, as when you finished the taking Rituals and Magic to join Feather Canyon.

 You can borrow my hammer.

 Cheers on battling the smoke. I took Johnny and Ali south for 5 days. We managed to keep moving about day ahead of the arrival of the smoke. Until the last day. it was bad.

 
Causing trouble when not climbing.