Day 1: Let It Begin

1. April 11: Mile 0 Campo to 15.38 Hauser Creek

Stayed at Scout and Frodo’s, trail angels in San Diego, last night and met numerous hikers starting there. They drove us through the trail head and began. Leapfrogged a South African couple, Ollie the Aussie and Patrick from Alaska, Bob from everywhere along with a couple other gentlemen that began with us. I mostly walked with Kristin from Toronto. There was a surprising amount of water and vegetation so far and there are mosquitoes at our campsite. I’m camping with Kristin and the South African couple tonight. Thinking about hiking to Fred canyon tomorrow 16.5 miles away. 

Day 101: Not Quite Trail Angel, Not Quite Hostel

101. July 20: Mile 1394.33 Campsite to Mile 1407.20 Burnet Mountain Guest Ranch
Really the only thing that I have to say about our hike to the Guest Ranch was that it was hot. We arrived around 1:00 PM, but the entire morning was pretty darn warm and sunny. The terrain was a mix of black volcanic rock and vast fields of dry grass. Very desert like, but still quite different from anything else. 

This Ranch is a weird place. It has the vibe of a trail angel, but you have to pay for it. It’s not much, but still it’s kind of strange. I’m not sure what to make of it. The place seems like private property with all of the buildings being very residential. The only difference is that there’s a price tied to everything. It’s a like a mix between a church camp and a rural convenience store. Odd. 

Anyway it’s still a really nice place. We were able to get a shower, laundry, lunch, and dinner as well as access to the pool which was wonderful. When we sent our food resupply to this place a few weeks ago we had planned for 20 mile days instead of 25. On top of that I over bought food for this last section and had a bunch left over. This all means that I have a shit ton of food; way more than I need for three and half days. So I just dumped a bunch in the hiker box even though I hate the thought of wasting food. Oh well. 

Day 100: Caves And Stuff

100. July 19: Mile 1373.98 Campsite to Mile 1394.33 Campsite 
Centennial day! Kinda crazy that I’ve been at this for 100 days now. We didn’t really do anything spectacular to celebrate unless you count stumbling out of bed at a snail’s pace spectacular. The whole morning was pretty slow, actually. We hiked less than a mile before we found a massive sink hole with a small cave at the bottom. For those who don’t know me well, I went to college in rural southern Kentucky about an hour east of Mammoth Cave. My roommate Wes and I used the geologic opportunity to spend most of our undergrad years going caving in the vast cave system in that part of the world. So coming upon a cave was like being a kid in a candy store with every jar having a “free” sign it. I unfortunately did not have the equipment or the time to fully flesh it out and explore it how I would have liked, but it was still totally bad ass. 

We were actually already headed to the Subway Cave, a lava tube that formed when lava filled the valley and hardened on the outside leaving an insulated tube for lava to flow through and leaving today what we walked through. It was so sick. The caverns were massive and the walls smooth. It was unlike anything that I had seen in the hundreds of hours I’ve spent caving in Kentucky. All of the caves there were formed mostly by water carving through limestone with lots of calcium formations such as stalactites and stalagmites. Here, though, it was all formed through volcanic activity so the features and general vibe was much different. 

Due to these excursions we had only done like three miles by 7:30 or so. This left us a bit behind schedule, but it didn’t matter as much because tomorrow we’ll be getting into Burney Mountain Guest Ranch and staying the night there. If we do less miles than we planned today, then we’ll just have to do a few more tomorrow so it won’t really put us behind our goal of doing 25 miles a day. 

We trucked on to lunch after having to hike down a really steep spur trail to get the last reliable water for about 20 miles. This whole area along Hat Creek Rim is more or less the desert. It’s dry with no shade and little water. Fortunately, though, late in the afternoon we came upon several pop up tents and trucks. They had a table full of food and coolers filled with beer and Gatorade for hikers. Much needed trail magic. As if we needed to take more breaks after our slow start, we of course proceeded to sit our happy asses down in a camp chair and chill for an hour. The trail provides. Well, sometimes. Sometimes it just stares at you with a snarky look and flips you the bird, but today, it provided. 

Since we had several stops today we figured it would do us good to hike later than normal so we still have to at the Ranch to rest. We normally hike until 5:00-6:00, but we hiked a little past 7:00 to this awesome campsite over looking the rim with a gorgeous view of Mt. Shasta to the north. The sunset was epic. 

Tomorrow we’ll only have a 13 mile hike to the Guest Ranch so we’ll probably sleep in a little bit before making it there by lunch. For $25 they’ll give you a place to camp, a shower, laundry, a meal, and access to the pool. So don’t be surprised if I spend most of my blog tomorrow writing about defiling the pool with my filthy hiker body and the Ranch having to hire a nuclear fallout cleanup crew to sanitize the pool as a result. 

Day 99: Literally A Marathon 

99. July 18: Mile 1347.72 Warner Valley Campground to Mile 1373.98 Campsite 
We hiked a Marathon today! It sucked. Well, actually it was fun, but it still sucked. Or at least hurt near the end. Regardless though, the morning was pretty uneventful minus a couple of climbs early before being pretty much flat for the rest of the day. So crushing miles was of the utmost ease except for the part about our bodies not being too thrilled with the idea. 

Before lunch we were approaching some southbounders and suddenly noticed a deer chasing them. We pointed behind them with our trekking poles to let them know, but all the said was, “Is is a deer? Yeah we know. It’s been following us all morning.” Apparently this doe would trot behind them and would stop when they stopped. When people would come it would walk just off the trail and wait for them to resume hiking and then get back on the trail to follow them as if it needed some friends. When we approached the deer walked off into the brush and soon after we walked off it trotted after the couple on the trail once again. It was the craziest thing!

The rest of the day was pretty mundane. We just kept pressing on. Since we know that we have to average 25 miles a day to the Canadian border to finish on time, we figured we would just go as far as we could. Throughout the afternoon, though, our bodies started giving out. We haven’t even done a full 20 mile day since early June and so my feet especially were really hurting by the end of the day. The hope was to hike to a cave 27 miles north of our campsite last night, but when Glowworm said that we had officially done a Marathon a mile from that point, we opted to just pack it in. 

The first thing I did was stretch when we set our packs down. Everything ached. I normally do a series of stretches for 15 seconds each, but this time I doubled that because I hurt so much. Afterwards I just lay on the ground and let myself be still before resuming with setting up camp and preparing dinner. I felt so much better after that. 

We’re still going to try to do big miles tomorrow and hopefully make it to Burney Mountain Ranch before midday the following morning. 

Day 98: Short Day, Big Miles

98. July 17: Mile 1328.82 Chester, CA to Mile 1347.72 Warner Valley Campground 
Another restful town stay. These don’t happen very often for me at least. Having my parents there to help me out was tremendous and having working wifi helped as well. After a breakfast at the hotel we went to the post office to pick up my new kicks. It’s amazing how worn the shoes I’ve been wearing are. The difference is stark. I hope my new pair are the correct size. When I purchased them online I chose the same size as I’ve been wearing, but now that I have them on, they seem small. I hope I don’t get any blisters as a result. 

After saying goodbye to my parents for another three month stint on the trail (definitely realized how much I missed being around them) Glowworm and I headed off on the trail. It wasn’t long, though, until we came upon a rather…interesting scene. There was a fawn that was ripped in half just laying on the trail. Only the half with the head remained. I can’t imagine what kind of animal would be capable of this. It wouldn’t be a bear since they don’t really go after game especially since they only eat berries and fish. It may have been a mountain lion or a wolf since I know that they both live in these parts. Either way, it was certainly horrifying and quite unsettling. 

At lunch we began looking at where we could potentially camp. The initial plan was to camp as close to the Lassen National Park border as possible since we have to carry bear canisters through the 19 miles section that goes through the park and neither of us are carrying them. So we were going to camp at the border and them hike through tomorrow, but we found that there was a pay-to-camp car camping area only four miles after. Since we were making pretty good time we thought we would try to push to make it an almost 19 mile day even though we started at 10:00 AM.  

Just after we got up from out lunch break we came across and unmistakable cooler randomly set next to the trail. Trail Magic! This time it was Gatorade, fruit snacks, and butterscotch candies. So good! Trail magic is by far the most thrilling thing that happens to us out here. 

Throughout the afternoon we kept leapfrogging Zebra and Skittles we first met in the Sierras. The last time we saw them was the day we hiked through all that treacherous snow in Squaw Valley. They wound up taking a week off the trail to go to a wedding which is why we caught up to them. After crossing into Lassen National Park they passed us again and we agreed to split the cost of a campsite ($16) once we arrived at the campground. 

It’s crazy to think that we did nearly 20 miles after starting at 10:00 AM. Just imagine what we can do if we start at 6:00! Should be interesting to see how many miles we can put together. The elevation gain looks favorable for a 25 plus miles day tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Day 97: Pancakes, IndyCar, And Ribs

97. July 16: Chester, CA
Zero day here in Chester. Probably the last zero for a while since we really need to start making miles. The four of us (Glowworm, my parents, and myself) all went out to breakfast at the Kopper Kettle, a local breakfast joint. Even though we haven’t been making the miles we normally do and spent the bulk of the day chilling and eating, my metabolism still was able to engulf almost two pancakes, two eggs, and four slices of bacon. My diet is certainly one of the highlights of this trip. It’s also worth noting the I lost ten pounds early on and have maintained a weight of around 135 since. 

After breakfast we all just hung out in the hotel room and napped, posted blogs, caught up, and otherwise just chilled. Around Noon the IndyCar race in Toronto came on TV and we watched that. This race is especially important (or at the very least mildly interesting) because Glowworm is from a town near Toronto. It was a great race, local boy James Hinchcliffe made it onto the podium, and I got my racing fix in town. Pretty good afternoon. 

In the evening Glowworm and I went to resupply at the grocery and I probably bought way too much food, but at least I won’t go hungry. We then all went out to eat at The Locker Room sports bar. Honestly when I saw the place yesterday I wasn’t all that impressed, but when we looked it up on Google it was far and away the highest rated place in town. It definitely held up to the claims and was very good. My dad and I shared ribs which I haven’t had in a long time and I also had a good IPA as well. Glowworm and I topped off the evening by having a dip in the hot tub. Definitely one of the more relaxing town stops I’ve had on this trail. Looking forward to crushing some miles this week. 

Day 96: Album Review And Hello, Parental Units

96. July 15: Mile 1325.50 Campsite to Mile 1328.82 Chester, CA
I had some motivation to hike the three miles into town today. Not that I really needed any motivation to hike only three miles to the promised land that flows with milkshakes and beer. Anyway, last night Dayseeker came out with their new record Dreaming is Sinking /// Waking is Rising and it’s soooo good. Not that anyone really cares, or even knows who Dayseeker is let alone listens to hardcore/post-hardcore/metalcore/etc. But since this is my blog, you are at the mercy of whatever I choose to incessantly babble on about. 
So for those who don’t know (which is all of you) Dayseeker is a post-hardcore/metalcore band meaning they scream and sing in their music and it’s really far too complicated to explain it all, but anyway this album is brilliant. It’s more aggressive sounding than their previous work yet there’s still loads of singing and more quiet/emotional parts as well. It’s incredibly dynamic for a band in this music scene. Most artists just go for the heaviest songs they can write and usually that’s the formula for a good record. I certainly patronize the heavy album formula, but I love it when artists really push themselves to write something unique and different that breaks the mold. 
What is really amazing about how they incorporated the heavy and soft parts in this collection of songs is even when the vocalist goes into a singing voice and the distortion of the guitars lessens and the drums subside there is still a driving force to the music. There’s no accelerando in the tempo, no crescendo, just really well designed chord to evoke the emotion necessary to keep you on the edge of your seat until the song lets loose again and returns to being super heavy with screaming vocals. It’s one of the best albums I have heard in the last few years. 

Okay, back to hiking if you were able to make it through my album review. So we made it to the highway in a little over an hour and stuck out our thumbs to hitch a ride into town. We have had really good luck with hitchhiking so far, but that seemed to have run out today. Everyone passed us as they drove by. We were there for 15 minutes before another hiker showed up also trying to get into town. We wound up waiting for about 30 minutes before finally getting a ride. We determined that most of those driving by were vacationers at the lake nearby and probably unaware that we were hikers and not homeless scum trying to leech off of society (that was sarcasm in case you didn’t catch that). The lady that picked us up was super nice, though. The people who have picked us up have always been incredibly kind to us. 
Once in town Glowworm and I first went into the post office to try to pick up my new shoes. Unfortunately, the post office wasn’t open and we’ll have to wait until Monday before we’re able to retrieve the package. 
After being thwarted at the post office, we headed to the Pine Shack Frosty for lunch. I ordered a cheeseburger and a one liter (32 oz.) sized milkshake. It was glorious. Well, it was glorious until a kind stranger apparently bought both Glowworm and I an additional sandwich. While I was completely overwhelmed by their generosity, it turned out to be the death of me. Since I am an American through and through, it is my patriotic duty to defend our freedom by devouring every single calorie that lay before me as is tradition in our country. But yeah, I felt like a beached whale afterwards and proceeded to sit their semi-unconditionally until my parents surprised me by coming into the restaurant when they arrived. 
It was great to see my parents after three months away from home. I don’t think I had really proceeded how long it had been since for me it’s pretty much been a whirlwind since leaving for Long Beach back in April. They’ve had a lot of time to contemplate how much they miss me. Not that I haven’t missed them, I just haven’t been able to think about it as much. 
They were finally able to meet Glowworm and we all went out for pizza before doing some laundry and eventually crashing for the night in the nicest hotel room we’ve stayed in since starting this trail (thanks mom and dad). 

Day 95: I Hiked 1000 Miles, Fools!

95. July 14: Mile 1311.99 Campsite to Mile 1325.50 Campsite 
You know that song that goes, “and I will walk 500 miles and I will walk 500 more”? Well, I really hate that song. Glowworm sang it all day yesterday as she was approaching her 1000 mile mark and it was stuck in my head all day today as I was approaching mine. Ugh. Kill me. Anyway, so yeah I not only reached my personal 1000 mile mark, we also crossed the PCT midpoint at 1325 miles (which happened to be 0.2 miles before my 1000 mile mark). 

The only other significant thing that happened was we walked over Butt Mountain, which surely amounts to something significant. Other than that it was a pretty chill day. The morning consisted of climbing Butt Mountain and the afternoon consisted of descending Butt Mountain and then hitting our milestones. 

Tomorrow we’ll hike the three miles into Chester and hopefully devour the supposed 32 oz. milkshake that is sold at the Pine Shack Frosty and then wait for my parents who will be coming into town in the afternoon. 

Oh, and for the record for dinner I had ten Oreos with peanut butter, a handful of Cheetos, and three Take 5 bars. Life if good. 

Day 94: Doing Maths And Stuff

94. July 13: Mile 1297.98 Campsite to Mile 1311.99 Campsite 
The forests of Northern California are full of foul beasts. I’m sure J.K. Rowling had them in mind when sure wrote about the Forbidden Forest along the edge of the grounds of Hogwarts. Some say there are colossal bipedal humanoid creatures that roam these mountains. They are said to be be incredibly elusive, but they consistently have attacked mankind for thousands of years. 
Many are skeptics, though. They call it hogwash, or a myth, or silliness. Yes, you are likely to be one of the nay sayers. But I am here to say that these beasts are real. This afternoon as Glowworm and I were hiking we heard a sound. A blood curdling sound. It sounded like a combination of a wolf howling at the moon and a lion roaring across his pride. We moved swiftly desperately trying to run away before the creature could thrash our bodies around and devour us into a bloody pulp. 

Okay, it wasn’t a Sasquatch. They were cows. A ton of cows, actually. We never really saw them, but we heard them mooing from all sides of us. We have heard from other hikers and our trail information that they’re in this area, but it was still a bit odd to hear cow sounds coming from a dense pine forest in Northern California. 
I’m not going to bore you to tears with useless anecdotes about walking and eating and walking and eating, etc, etc, but I what was interesting (well, maybe not interesting, but important) was at lunch Glowworm and I had to sit down and do some maths. 

So the short of it is, Glowworm has until October 11 to be in the U.S. until she has to return to Canada. The main reason is 6 months is the max you can stay as a Canadian without a full visa. There’s a couple other reasons too, but regardless, October 11 is the last day she can be here so if she (we) are going to finish all 2650 miles of this trail we’re going to have to do it before then. 
Alright, so do some math with me ( don’t bother double checking my work, because it’s probably wrong). We’ll be leaving Chester after visiting my parents on July 17. If we were to average 25 miles a day (which is a lot, but certainly doable if we aren’t totally fucking lazy like we have been) then it would take us 54 days to get to the northern terminus in Canada (mile 2650 in Canada – mile 1329 in Chester = 1321 miles / 25 = 53.84 days). We estimate that we will stop in 15 towns to resupply. Five of those towns we will likely take zeros which are a full day of no miles hiked adding five days to the 54 (54 days + 5 days = 59 days). Ten of those towns we’re hoping to only do a nearo which is a partial day into town to save money and time so let’s say that we’ll only do 12.5 miles on those days. That would add another five days making for a total of 64 days to Canada (59 days + 5 days = 64 days). This would give us an ETA of September 19 to Canada. Keep in mind, though, that we could lower the amount of zeros we take if we can just suck it up and we’ll also likely hike further than 12.5 miles on nearo days, but for the sake of estimating we’ll stick with that. 
Okay, you still with me? If not, give up now because the maths and I aren’t very good friends let alone trying to explain it. So anyone, if you’ve been following my hike you will know (or maybe, not sure how if I explicitly stated it or not) that I skipped 324.2 miles from the Mt. Whitney trail junction to Echo Lake near South Lake Tahoe after I got air lifted. Glowworm continued on to Bishop with our friends Cougar and Dr. McDirty which an additional 25 miles or so (Glowworm hit her personal 1000 mile mark today, by the way). So to complete the trail we will need to do this 300+ mile section after we get to Canada. Yes, this is all at high altitude. Yes, I am aware I nearly died from being at high altitude. Yes, I will be going back. Yes, I will be safe. I am finishing what I started and will be completing the trail upon arriving at the campsite I was airlifted from after summiting Mt. Whitney. 

So let’s give ourselves a week to get from Vancouver which is pretty much the only town/city close to Manning Park and then make our way back to South Lake Tahoe/Echo Lake to resume our hike on what would be September 26. Due to summiting Whitney and taking Whitney Portal into Lone Pine to get off the trail, the distance we’d have to do through the Sierras would have to be around 345 miles. Because mountains have a tendency to be steeper than not mountains we’re going to estimate we’d be doing 20 mile days instead of 25. That would make for a 17 day stint in the Sierras (345 miles/ 20 miles a day = 17.25 days). We anticipate resupplying in six towns and since the section would be so short (relatively speaking) we’re going to estimate only doing nearos in those towns adding three extra days making for a total of 20 days to Lone Pine from Echo Lake. This would mean that by this rough simulation we’d be done on October 16. 
As I’m sure you can see, October 16 is after October 11. So let’s go back and see where we can cut time. Let’s say we only take three zeros instead of five, which is very doable if we have any bit of integrity. We can also cut time by doing more miles on nearo days which might amount to one day to be safe. In addition we probably won’t spend a whole week going from Vancouver to Tahoe so maybe four days (one for leaving the trail, one for Vancouver, one for Seattle, and one for Tahoe). That would give us a full week of extra time meaning we’d be done on October 9 which would be just in time before Grandpa Trump grabs Glowworm by the ears and hurls her across the border and into the land of exceptionally polite and rather cold people. 

Regardless, we’re going to cut it pretty close and it will be a mad dash to be able to make it happen, but at least we know it’s doable. A couple of options if we wind up going slower than we hope is we could skip Whitney altogether since that’s not technically part of the trail. If that doesn’t grant enough time then we could end our trip at Kearsarge Pass where Glowworm got off at in the Sierras. I would still miss the 25 or so miles in between, but I was already planning on skipping that if we hadn’t decided to skip the Sierras. Worst case scenario would be just getting as far as we can in the Sierras and leaving the rest for another year or coming back to do the 300 mile long John Muir Trail which is more or leas the Sierra portion of the PCT. Either way, we have finally put a number on it and we know what the goal is and how to achieve it. Here’s to trying to make it happen. 

Day 93: Angst

93. July 12: Mile 1284.48 Belden, CA to Mile 1297.98 Campsite 
I have a confession. I usually really hate writing this blog. It’s so tedious and in my opinion uninteresting that it feels more like a burden than an enjoyable way to reflect on the day. I’ve never been one of those people that really enjoys journaling or anything like that nor do I even enjoy reading blogs. To me they’re mostly boring musings about irrelevant things. Then again, I suppose this is an irrelevant musing as well. 
Every now and then I get really inspired to write something. The Scrabble story, for example was really fun to write about, or writing about the night we basically got blown off Mt. San Jacinto, or even more personal pieces where I delve into more emotional aspects of myself and get to be all melodramatic about what’s going through my head. 
Mostly though, blogging about this trip just plain sucks. For those of you reading this, I’m sure it’s hard to understand, but hiking the PCT is actually pretty mundane. For instance, today we woke up, slept in a bit, ate food, hiked, ate food, hiked, and camped. It’s pretty basic. Well, that’s not completely true. There were things that happened and I’m sure they’re interesting (actually there was one very interesting thing that happened, but I’ll get to that after I go on and on about how much I dislike writing exactly what I’m writing right now), but by comparison to what I experience day in and day out they’re relatively mundane. 
So many of the accounts of thru hikes that I followed before doing this hike were so dry. Podcasts, blogs, trail journals, documentaries, etc. I totally understand why, but for entertainment purposes they were all mostly snoozers. They were like reading Great Expectations; endless lines of dry details with occasional bouts of excitement like old women’s rotting wedding dresses catching on fire and stuff like that (literally the only thing I remember from that book plus something about Mr. Pip). So the point of me babbling incessantly about this is because 1) nothing much happened today and I’m sick of writing about the same boring shit day after day and 2) I’m really critical of my writing and want to post pieces that I’m proud of. Anyway, enough of blah, blah, blahing about whatever it is I just bantered on about. On to the one interesting thing that happened today. 
So do you remember your teenage years or ever have a teenager (since most of you are over 40 and have children…I am one of those children)? Remember how your parents or the world in general never really seemed to understand you? Well I met a young man today who follows that description perfectly. Well, I met him briefly at least. His name was Teddy and he’s a bigger kid, about 400 lbs. and puberty has really kicked in with all the hair he’s got. When Teddy and I crossed paths he had just gotten done fighting with his mama over something. He didn’t go into details, but I imagine it was teen angst related and how he wanted to go fishing at the stream with his friends and she wouldn’t let him and probably ended with something like, “mom you just don’t understand!”
When Teddy and I crossed paths he was running away from his mother in understandable distress; a full sprint actually. In fact it was more like a bowling ball being hurled down the steps of the Lincoln Memorial due to his overweight stature. He was moving so fast that he didn’t even have time to talk to me as he bounded through the woods and across the trail ten meters in front of me. He just kept going with all of his angst built up inside. 
You see, Teddy isn’t fully human. He’s actually not human at all. Teddy is a bear. Yes, you read that right. A fucking adolescent bear came pounding through the woods today, hurling across just 30 feet in front of me and continued sprinting down the hillside. All I remember was hearing the loud cracks of tree branches snapping and thunderous footsteps to my right and seeing a young bear stomping his way through the forest, angling his path towards me momentarily (I totally thought he was going to charge me) and adjusting course as he crossed the trail before resuming his tyrannosaurus rex like romp through the trees. Glowworm and I stood there, hearts pounding for a moment before busting out in a mix of laughter, shock, and disbelief. Many “what the fucks” and “holy shits” were spoken in the minutes following. So yeah, we saw a bear. And it was so damn awesome. 

Day 92: This Town Is Weird

92. July 11: Mile 1277.74 Campsite to Mile 1284.48 Belden, CA
Another casual and relaxing morning on the trail. Since we’re trying to kill time until Chester Glowworm and I slept in again which was once again wonderful. We had many hikers pass us going both directions before we left. In the last couple days we have finally seen thru hikers again after a couple weeks of more or less solitude at least by comparison to the desert. The whole herd exploded in Kennedy Meadows and people flipped and skipped every which way. Some are hiking southbound, others northbound, but until now it’s been pretty barren. It’s really nice, though. Most people skipped the Sierras so now that we’re back together in a sense we are all able to share our stories about how we handled the ridiculous snow. 

The descent into Belden was only about six miles, but was very steep with lots of switchbacks. There were a ton of really cool views of the valley and surrounding mountains as we descended. It didn’t take long and we arrived by lunch. 
This town is weird. Actually it’s not even a town, it’s a “resort”. Basically a wild west wannabe town with a saloon and some hotelish rooms with some shady cabins. It apparently hosts hippie music festivals every weekend. When we were there today, there were several hikers so we had lunch at the bar (which was really good) and then used their really slow wifi to upload blogs and catch up on the outside world. 

After doing our administrative phone work all afternoon we went to the beach along the river for a quick swim before resuming our hike. And by resuming our hike I mean walked across the street to a roadside rest stop and set up camp next to a gazebo. Not sure of the legality of our campsite, but considering the trail immediately begins a 5000 foot, 13 mile ascent, I think we’ll take our chances. Ask forgiveness not permission, right?