September 21, 2017
Mile 2397 to 2415 (Ridge up a hill after the storm)
Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hike: Day 139
Beautiful campsite on a ridge.
We woke up to freezing cold hell, in a cloud with snow dropping on us. Hiked up to 6,000 feet where I would have lost the trail if it hadn't been for a SOBO postholing towards me right at the moment I needed him.
Vice and Boathouse passed me at that point. I had a minor breakdown because I was worrying so much about Alex staying warm. How he wouldn’t tell me if he was having problems because he wouldn’t want me to worry. All I could think about was that blizzard at Mount Laguna. The snow was cold on my feet and the rest of my body was sweating bullets. I had decided to put already wet socks on this morning because I knew my dry socks would get wet anyway, so my toes were numb and painful.
We kept climbing, postholing knee-deep up and up, until we finally hit the saddle where the trail turned towards a valley. A dark cloud hung over our heads, and then...the SUN!!!!!!!!
We found a wide turn in the switchbacks just below the snow line and whipped out the tent. Holding it like a sail in the wind and sun, it only took about 10 minutes to dry out. The feeling of relief that we'd at least have a dry shelter even if it rained the rest of the day was ecstasy. The ponchos have been a lifesaver, too: they trap heat and keep our pack straps, hip belt, back area and bottom dry.
In my journal yesterday I failed to mention that Sam says he's going to wait for us in Leavenworth because it wouldn't be right to finish the trail any other way. He just texted me (nobody else), which means I have a secret. I'm hoping Vice and Boathouse aren't too far ahead, so we can all meet in time for him to surprise us.
We had smoked salmon for dinner, Alex arranged it while I built a rock wall by our tent. After dinner I heard rain sprinkling down and went outside to check the fly and the sky. Ten minutes ago it was clear. Now, it's ALL clouds. I think they must have snuck over from the hill we're climbing. I'm just hoping it 1) doesn't last all night so we're carrying a wet tent again and 2) that it's not raining when we get up so we can walk and make progress with confidence. I do think we made the right decision to stop at a lower altitude tonight. We have slightly warmer temps, more protection, and hopefully less chances of waking up in a cloud.