This morning i woke alone at the Grouse shelter . I make a quick breakfast and pack up . Its become a ritual . Its amazing how quickly we human beans turn the everyday into ritual isnt it ? Just a couple of months and I know everything is in its place and there is a place for everything . I know where my spoon is , i know where my elastoplasts are , and my Swiss army knife never , never leaves my side , unless im using it to pick me teeth with .
Im on the trail , and immediatly into snow. The snow here is mostly drift , hard packed and ice on top . Youd think it makes it easier to walk on , but add in the fact that it is always amongst the trees and always varied in its depth , and it becomes a major navigational headache . I seem to spend hours looking down at my GPS , each time i look up im befuddled by the terrain again . I stop for second breakfasts and catch myself before confussion sets in .
I am finding rythm again slowly . When the trail is not covered in snow , its covered in branches and trees that have been blown over by wind or succumbed to the wheight of snow . Progress is slow . Relax , stay present .
I suprise another hiker called Mike who is hiking south . He is getting himself in a knot with his maps . It makes me feel grateful for my solar power cell phone and aps . Technology may get the occasional
Looking down from the crest my constant companion today is Mount Shiasta . Its white cap is throwing bright contrast against the big blue sky . Up here , it does sometimes feel like being above it all . The peak of Siasta sometimes looks like an island in a sea of cloud . A poets paradise .
Later in the day , as im making my supper at the side of a dirt road I catch up with Gus , or rather Gus catches up with me . I have somehow got in front of him , we both look a little suprised . We figure out that it has been a day of GPS navigation , lost trails , general confusion , and that somehow i have teleported myself ahead . In the imortal words of Tom Jones “its not unusual” !
What is unusual is what happens next . We have been sat down for less than two minutes when a lady appears at the bend of the road . As I said earlier , we are stopped where the PCT criss crosses a forestry trail . Very unusual to see anyone on these trails never mind someone on foot. She is obviously relieved to see us . She and her sister and their mum have stuck the car in snow just a little down the track “and would you mind coming to help us ?”
The car is upto its axels in snow and its going to take a LOT of digging . We get straight into it . Within ten minutes another two vehicles come around the corner . Big 4×4 , bobbly wheels and big radio ariels , i quietly bet to myself they even have horns that play the tune like the Dukes of Hazards car used to have .I may never know , but they deffinatly do have shovels . Three of them ! In ten minutes the three old girls are back on the road and giving us all ;’praise the angels , we asked for a miracle ‘ . I smile .
We get back on the trail and plod through a final five miles before calling it a day . We once again cross the border and return into California . Seems like weve hardly been away.
We make our camp by a spring under a big tree and swap chocolate and a couple of laughs before hiker midnight sets in and i go to bed in the same clothes that i have been wearing for almost sixty days and nights . I am sweaty , dirty and smelly , which is not always a good thing . But tired , really tired , so I sleep like im in a four star hotel .