PCT Day 72 – Soda Mountain
10.9 miles, near 1730.1
• Woke up with plans to hit the trail by 9am, which quickly became noon. Some people wanted to get breakfast in the restaurant. I was just ready to start hiking again.
• Our first taste of Oregon was sunshine, lush green forest, and big views of the surrounding mountains. Mt Ashland to the northwest and approaching Pilot Rock very close to the trail.
• When we got to the junction, Carie took a break with the packs while I took the trail to climb Pilot Rock. Barb and Moneeka and all climbed this just the other day for Moneeka’s birthday.
• I followed a well-maintained trail until it just stopped and big granite rock loomed above. This was one of those approaches that didn’t seem possible until you tried, it required rock climbing up 2 tight crevices before scrambling to the top. The view on top was worth it, snowy Mt Shasta to the south and many other ranges to see with good visibility.
• Back at the junction, we chatted with some hikers we met on day 10 at Warner Springs, named “Shifty” and “Space Dust”, new trail names to us, not Garrett and “cat lady” anymore. They originally made it to Walker Pass, went home for 2 weeks to let more snow melt, ended up flipping past the Sierra anyways, and started hiking north through Oregon like us.
• We reached a spring for the night. I must have circled the place 3 times looking for the best spot, before settling on a mediocre incline for our tent. Today is the first time using our new duplex poles, which didn’t come with any printed instructions. I luckily had 1 bar of cell service that eventually loaded a video tutorial. I think it was a good purchase, but will need a few more days to work out the kinks.
• Carie laid in the tent on my side upside down, adamant this was the best spot for cell service, 2 ft from her normal spot.
• We didn’t have a super great vantage of the valley and the sunset, but it was still a gorgeous evening. It’s still dimly lit out at 930pm, a noticeable difference than what we’re used to farther south in California.