9.1 miles (Miles 386.2 – 394.4 + .9-miles of required detour)
Islip Saddle – PCT Mile 394.4
Detours can make things a little confusing, but thankfully the Halfmile maps clearly marked and described the route we chose to take today. The detour is required to protect the endangered mountain yellow-legged frog. It closes 4 miles of the PCT. There are two options around it:
Option one is the official detour, but from the sounds of it, it’s rarely the choice thru-hikers make because of its length. It’s all on trail, but it’s 20 miles total – to avoid 4 miles.
Option two is the old detour, and since it’s much shorter and still legal, this is the option we chose. The length is only 4.9 miles – so we only tacked on an extra .9 miles to what we would have done on the PCT if it wasn’t closed. The only downside to this option is that you have to walk on Hwy 2 for 2.7 miles. Thankfully traffic wasn’t bad, and there were only a few short spots where the shoulder narrowed and we had about 12″ between a cliff and the white line. For the most part we had a good shoulder.
Jon is here for the week too, so he hiked with us. I felt kind of bad because the minute we got on trail we climbed. It was one of the steepest grades we’ve dealt with on the trail thus far, and it went on… straight up for a good two miles. He seems to be doing really well with the elevation, which could certainly be a concern. Coming from Wisconsin’s low elevation to hiking up to 8,000 feet can’t be easy. He’s a strong hiker, though! It was really nice having him hiking with us today, and I’m really happy to see he and Tears get to spend some time together out here.
Tomorrow and Tuesday I’m going to hike on my own for a bit. Jon and Tears are going to take their time and enjoy the trail, do a little birding from the sounds of it, and just have some time on their own. I’m pretty excited to have some full-on me-time. I love hiking with Tears, and I love my time with Aloha, but this solo time is going to be good for my soul – I think I really need it. I hope to meet up with Aloha on Wednesday morning to help with a little trail magic, so I might take advantage of how good I’ve been feeling and book it a bit. Many options lie ahead for me these next couple of days. I’m really feeling happy right now.
A borderline TMI tidbit for today… I’ve mastered going to the bathroom on-trail (just #1 of course!) without taking my pack off! This is a small accomplishment, but a pretty big deal out here… and I know my mom will be proud. :)
A few more photos from today:
Oh… I’ve been thinking a lot about how I love just about everything in my life, and I mean every last detail. I’m thinking about mentioning one thing I love at the end of each day, and it’ll probably usually be something random.
Good night. Tonight I love you. Yeah, you – reading about my journey. :)