PCT CA Section D

Nov. 11: The Desert Ain’t So Bad in November

I left camp at a relatively lazy half past eight for an easy three miles down to the road to Acton KOA. Of course I decided to stop in there. Why not? Real bathroom, camp store open, power outlet top up.

Like with the grocery stores I’d checked, I couldn’t find any vitamin D supplements in the camp store, nor even sunscreen. Very limited prospects. There wasn’t even any root beer! But there was a decent selection of ice cream, Coke, and Hot Pockets to microwave!

Just as I was getting ready to hike out again (after trying to use the wifi to download some more podcasts), the power mysteriously went out. I let the lady running the store, who also appeared to be managing the whole campground that day, use my phone to call the owner. Apparently I was the only person present with a modicum of cell service (though only weakly and in the middle of the road). There was a lot of fretting when a maintenance man arrived, and then the power came back on as mysteriously as it had gone off. None of this affected me in any way whatsoever. I got back on the trail immediately, having lost an hour to this indulgence.

After a few more miles, the trail started climbing. It had been a while since I had encountered such steep trail. Oregon slopes had all been very gentle. The desert sun kept me sweating more than I had in weeks also, but taking a break in the shade was no solution because the cold breeze quickly sapped all my body heat. It was either too hot in the sun or too cold in the shade. No just right. The only solution was to keep going so as to alternate between them.

Still better than postholing through the snow though. The desert mountains are still beautiful.

Around 4:30 I rolled into the picnic area at the North Fork Ranger Station, where a caretaker maintains a five gallon bottle of water for hikers. I considered filling up and then continuing the climb, but I realized I didn’t much feel like continuing to hike that day. The sun was setting and all the climbing in the sun had me feeling a bit listless. I had more than enough food to get where I was headed, so there was no need to push.

I cooked and ate at the picnic table the water sat on while setting up camp in a tent pad just on the other side of a giant empty propane tank. I didn’t necessarily want to camp under a sticky sappy fir tree, but that was where the tent pad was built. I turned in early and slept pretty well.

Total distance: 16 miles

Trail progress: 15 miles

You can see the Acton KOA down there
A bit of unmelted snow abides
The view from North Fork Ranger Station

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