Today’s Miles: 13.4
Total Miles: 74
Klum Landing Campground to Brown Mountain Shelter
Motivated to beat the heat, Hadlie was up by 6:30 a.m. ready to break down camp and hit the trail. I was awake an hour earlier, and had plenty of time for my morning yoga and meditation. I retrieved the bear bag hanging in a tree a few campsites over.
Yes, I hang my food bag every night backpacking. It gives me piece of mind that is well worth the extra few minutes in my day. I met several people along the PCT who didn’t bother, but I figure it helps to keep small, and large critters alike, from trying to enter my tent.
After we ate mashed potato burritos (our favorite backpacking breakfast), and returned the now empty gallon water jug with a thank you note, we left Klum Landing Campground and hiked the roughly .5 miles back to the PCT.
Water was a welcome sight pretty quickly in the day, which made me smile. I have not seen much water along the trail so far; a striking difference from the Portland area hikes with an abundance of rivers, waterfalls and lakes.
It was a fairly easy day of hiking with very little ups and downs, and a lot of forest that provided lovely shade. Another not-so-scenic day with the exception of a pretty view of Mt. Shasta for a bit. The mountain was now far in the distance behind me.
We topped off water at Big Springs, around 8 miles from our day’s destination. I read the water pump at Brown Mountain Shelter was broken, and I didn’t want to take any chances. On the flip side, you never want to carry extra water for no reason. Water is super duper heavy! I almost always err on the side of carrying too much, however.
A couple miles from the shelter, we passed a man hiking with a child. They were barely off the trail having a snack, and asked us about the water situation at the shelter. Their accent led me to believe they were from Europe, but I couldn’t place the country for sure. They had the appearance of thru-hikers, but I just couldn’t believe anyone would be hiking the entire PCT with a kid. Walking away, I wished I had asked more questions, but they seemed reserved, and I didn’t want to be rude.
Hadlie was done hiking by mile 10, her feet were aching, so the shelter was a welcome sight when we arrived around 4:30 p.m. I felt like I could keep going, which was a fantastic feeling. I’m getting my legs!
The book described the shelter as being an undesirable spot to camp, so I was a little nervous to have this be our destination, but it turned out great. There was plenty of space, the shelter added a fun backdrop (though we didn’t go in except for a quick peek), there was a large picnic table, several benches, and the water pump worked just fine – woohoo!
Hadlie was a little annoyed I made her carry all that extra water for nothing, but I didn’t want a repeat of last night’s water shortage situation. There was no one at the shelter when we first got there, but this changed quickly.
A man arrived just three minutes after us. He was a teacher from Boulder, CO, hiking all of Oregon, and Washington if he had time. It was way too early for him to quit for the day, so we wished each other well, and he was off to hike more miles.
Two minutes later, a man from Belgium arrived. His hiking buddy was behind him, and he planned to wait for him at the shelter so they could hike the remaining 10 miles for the day together. They were averaging 30-mile-days; obviously thru-hikers, and they had their legs!
The two men met on day one in Southern California, and had been hiking together ever since. How magical is that! To meet a complete stranger that you are compatible with, not only physically, but also temperament and personality. Talk about Trail Magic.
While Hadlie and I made a backpacker meal of Mac-n-Cheese, Port (PCT trail name), shared trail stories with us. He had several encounters with animals including bears, rattlesnakes, and one spooky Mountain Lion story. He shared his favorite scenery so far, and how he had to jump around California because of the late snow melt in the Sierras.
Port told us about another man from Belgium travelling with his 11-year old son. We told him we passed them earlier in the day! I was SO excited to hear the scoop on this duo.
Indeed, the two of them were hiking the entire PCT. Port told us he hiked a couple hundred miles with them in California, including the climb up Mt. Whitney – icepicks and all. He said it was pretty nerve-wracking climbing the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States with a child. Wow, I was really impressed. Hadlie decided if an 11-year old can hike 2,650 miles, she can do 31.5 without complaining too much.
His buddy, Woody (PCT Trail name), who was from San Diego, didn’t arrive at the shelter until 6:30 p.m., and they decided to call it a day. They just cowboy camped – no tent – simply on the ground in sleeping bags with their food bag between them. Port told me bears are more scared of us than we are of them, and the bears wouldn’t dare approach a human to get to a food bag. Hmmm….okay.
Hadlie and I got our tent set up, and settled in for the night. I hung my bear bag far away from all of us.
Around 7 p.m., Shannon (the woman I met at Callahan’s Lodge) strolled into camp. Yay – I was so excited to hear her familiar voice! Thirty minutes later, another man arrived. It felt like a party (socially distanced of course). I wasn’t too worried about COVID, hanging with these folks who had been living in the woods for months.
This night gave me the misperception my evenings would be full of company. However, having people nearby would actually be very rare moving forward.
Shannon was trying to get to Crater Lake in just a few days to meet her husband, and was planning on spending a couple zero days there. I figured I could catch up to her again, and we loosely planned to find each other at the campground.
That evening, Hadlie listened to a podcast while I wrote in my journal. This was one of the most joyous and memorable evenings on the trail.