Day 112: Saturday, August 24

Tenting in a nook between some firs (PCT mi 2025.1), walked 17.6 miles today

Slept til 8 and then ate more meat for breakfast in the form of two leftover bratwursts, sliced up to look like breakfast sausage. All in all I might have eaten two pounds of meat during my time at Lost Lake Campground. Owen dropped me off at the trailhead around 9:30, and to say my motivation was low today would be an understatement. I think it's directly correlated to pack weight, because the last time my mind was this bent on taking breaks and staring off into space was after coming back in from Kearsarge Pass (mile 790), which was easily my heaviest food load of the whole hike.

I dawdled, dithered, dillied, dallied, tarried, then after all that I burned some daylight and pretty soon it was the late afternoon and I'd only gotten 15 or so miles done. The day had started out very sunny and clear, to the point where I was actually too hot sitting in the full sun on one of my breaks, but by 4-ish there was bad weather a-brewin' to the west, which was consistent with the forecasts I'd heard two days ago down in town. I looked up the mileages to all my main goals for the next few days and rationalized stopping soon after. But first I ran into Scott Williamson, Mr. PCT himself, actually taking a break with his partner, Zeke the Freak, on the trail. I eyeballed him for a second, pretty sure that that's who he was, and then without me saying anything Zeke said, "The answer is yes." We shook hands and chatted very briefly, but I was all flustered in the presence of hiking celebrity and forgot what the questions I had for him were. It turns out that catching him on a break is a bit of a collector's item, especially this year, because I heard from another hiker, Broken Toe, an hour later that Scott only started from the Canadian border 14 days ago and is averaging 45+ miles per day trying to beat Anish's new record.

So they took off, muttering something about how camping at Three Fingered Jack for the night would put them at 47 for the day, and I went my separate way. A few miles later I was being hammered by a very cold, ominous wind and decided to set up at the next protected-looking place I saw, which ended up being down from the trail on the leeward side of the ridge in a tight spot between some conifers. The first spot I picked actually failed on account of being too small and potentially kind of puddly in the event of rain, but I persisted and set my tent up nicely in a second location nearby. This is as bombproof a pitch as I can make with this tent, so bring it on, weather gods! (I probably shouldn't say that.) Tomorrow I ought to be able to muster 29 to the Olallie Lake Resort and General Store, assuming I wake up on time.