22.6 miles (Miles 977.6 – 1000.2!)
Kerrick Canyon – Cascade Creek
Of course the biggest part of today is hitting the 1,000-mile mark on the PCT! We didn’t know if it would be today or tomorrow, but we just got to it around “look-for-camp” time. After we designed our own number out of red pine needles and took a bunch of photos, we crossed Cascade Creek and set up camp with about three million guests – unwanted guests – mosquitoes. For the first time on the hike, I sat around in my full raingear just to keep them from biting. It works, but it’s really warm! Just as we got done with dinner, King Street, T Rex, Rocky, Dr. Slosh, and Smiles joined us – very welcomed guests! It’s a great spot if you ignore the swarmings.
Early today was a repeat of yesterday, and I was trying to mentally prepare myself for another full day just like it. It was all a mental game. We continued the ascend/descend pattern, complete with skeeters and wet-feet river crossings, and the scenery was all starting to blend together in my mind. I joked with myself, “I could accidentally get turned around, start heading south and not realize it until I ran into another north-bounder.” What kept me going up those hills was the thought, “we’re still headed north!” Or at least I hoped! Haha!
We even got another afternoon thunderstorm and I thought maybe it still was yesterday! As it turned out, it barely rained on us – the mosquitoes were just as bad, but the terrain got easier as the day went on. It was starting to change, which was a nice break from yesterday and this morning – just what we needed to get in some big miles.
We stopped for lunch at a nice lake, and another hiker out for a shorter trip joined us. His name is Fats – he’s not at all fat, but he’s super-nice. It was great to have his company! He offered us aqua mira, which we didn’t need, but we did take the lemon-flavored Lara bar he offered! Yum!
After lunch we enjoyed a flatter trail through as series of wet meadows. In between the meadows were small patches of forest, short and rocky climbs, or a combination of the two. But they were mellow and just dropped us onto another level of damp meadow. It was really fun hiking. We hiked our way towards Dorothy Lake, which was a fantastic, big, blue mountain lake with an on-again-off-again breeze that would blow the skeeters away for short bursts of time. It was better than nothing! We took a break there, then head back out to Dorothy Pass. This is where we left Yosemite and entered the Hoover Wilderness. It’s incredible how quickly our scenery changed, too!
Our new forest overlooked layers of rolling, rocky hills dabbed with pine trees and scattered with what seemed like a hundred different wildflowers. The sun came out, creeks were heard cascading in the distance, and small lakes showed up each time we rounded a new bend. It is gorgeous. Yosemite surprised me with more challenge in hiking over jaw-dropping scenery – at least where we hiked through – I have yet to see the valley. But this afternoon totally got me revved up for some more fantastic views. I can do over a thousand more miles of this trail! Gladly!
Tonight I love being in a tent, watching the mosquitoes bounce off the screen.
A few more photos: