Monday, June 27, 2016

Day 58 : Benson Pass

24 miles today
1684 miles to go

What a comfortable night. It wasn't very cold, it was cool, perfect for sleeping. All is quiet. I'm wondering if I should get up. I check the time that the Post Office opens. I sure would like to shop off some of the gear that I am not using. Specifically my microspikes and umbrella are not being used. They need to get off my back. Nine am! Well that's not happening, I'm not sitting around here until then. 

Breakfast time, my favorite time of day. I pull out all my food on my picnic table. I had a good idea to put stuff in my food bag that can't be ruined by getting squished. Last time I just put my lunch stuff in my food bag. My graham crackers, pretzels, and Oreo cookies were all reduced to crumbs. My food bag is in the bottom of my pack so anything in it is really squished. Especially because I have my bear canister. I push down really hard on it when I am packing so I have enough room for the rest of my stuff. So anyway, I put my dinner entrees, my instant breakfast, my Starbucks mochas, and things like that in my food bag. I can squish those all I want and it won't change them. 

I start off by myself. I hike the trail to the store. Yep, it really is closed. Then I head up the highway to the PCT. I cross over the Tuolumne River bridge and turn left. Follow the signs to Glen Aulin. My plan had me hiking this last night. With the time it took to locate my box and how exhausted I felt I don't think I would have made it in a reasonable time. So now I have a few miles that I hope to make up today.

The trail to Glen Aulin is huge. It's like a ten lane interstate for hikers. It's so wide, yet this morning I'm by myself cruising down the middle of the interstate. The trail stays wide all the way to Glen Aulin, then it shrinks to a single lane. I continue on and meet up with Proton, Beardo, and Sweet Pea. Just the hikers I was hoping to meet. We hike together for a while then Beardo, Sweet Pea and I stop for a snack. Proton keeps going as says, “see you at the top.” Beardo and Sweet Pea live on the east coast, but I learn they were married in the same small town that I used to live in in Northern California. I am ready to hike. I say, “see you at the top, or wherever Proton is,” and take off. The trail is smooth and the hiking is easy. I sort of zone out and hike along without any significant thoughts. When I reach the summit I don't see Proton. I assumed he hiked on to the ford, so I head there. I am excited to connect a dot. I have hiked in the area coming up before and it'll be fun to see where this trail from Mexico actually connects to where I've been before. No Proton at the ford. I guess he kept going. I see footprints that might be his. I follow them on and on. I never do ‘catch up’ to him. I think I must have past him. I hike all the way to Matterhorn canyon by around fourish, my preferred stopping time. Now I'm starting to get a little anxious. I don't want to camp in Matterhorn canyon as I think it'll be wet, lot of condensation in and on my tent in the morning. My only option is to keep hiking. The trail leaves Matterhorn canyon and climbs of Benson Pass. I've camped at the pass before. I imagine there is probably snow up there now. I look for a campsite as I climb. I recall doing this before on a previous trip. There are a lot of places that sort of look like they might be a campsite but aren't. They are sloped, or have water running through them or have other things that make them non-campsites. I keep climbing, it's getting later. My feet have been wet since the ford earlier today. There have been numerous other ones, I simply walk through them now. I have to ford this stream now, it's late, do I really want to soak my feet again? There really isn't another choice. Cold water again, I climb until just before the pass. I find an ideal spot on well drained , dry gravel. Shouldn't have any condensation here. I have a view off to mountains in the east from my site. I quickly go through my camp chores, in no time at all in in my sleeping bag. I fall to sleep quickly, my bed is so comfortable.

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