Day 134: Sunday, September 15

Tenting at Lake Sally Ann (PCT mi 2504.6), walked 23.0 miles today

Slept longer and better than I have in weeks and woke up at 7, didn't leave til 7:45. Didn't really see anyone all morning besides weekenders still in camp ... Eventually I caught up to a fellow named Brownie whom I first met a few days ago and leapfrogged with him the rest of the day. My legs, to my consternation, still were not in 100% hiking mode, so the morning was more of a struggle than it might otherwise have been ... It was largely forested at first, the sun was kind of out but often partially obscured by a high cloud layer, and it was more humid than normal, with occasional strong breezes that suggested incoming weather. Didn't always have my usual motivation to move forward ... The realization of how close we all are to finishing has started to sink in and I'm bittersweet about it, and there hadn't been any bad weather lately to crack the proverbial whip, so I was in the sort of mood to sit down and take the world in.

By the afternoon three factors had helped inspire me to movement: I could see more clouds moving in from a distance, my legs felt better, and for awhile I was very out of water in a 10-mile completely dry stretch, which I was not expecting at this latitude. The dry stretch ended when I heard water trickling under some boulders off the trail, went to investigate, and discovered the purest, most ice cold spring water just barely in reach between the rocks. Sat and enjoyed that moment with a liter of ice-cold Gatorade for at least 30 minutes, then pushed on ... I had a campsite in mind that was two miles past here, but about 15 minutes before I reached old Sally Ann, the low clouds that I'd been seeing in the distance invaded and started pouring over the ridge I was walking. Within a few minutes visibility was down to 100 yards or so and I figured camping sooner rather than later was advisable in case rain wasn't far off--I wanted a site that had a lot of tree cover and wind shielding on both sides of the tent, lest I suffer a repeat of the Goat Rocks night, and also didn't look like it would get really puddly in the event of prolonged rain. As soon as I got to the lake the first site I saw was nearly perfect in both regards, so it was an easy decision to set up here, although execution was challenging because this tent, with all its guylines and odd bloopy shape, does not fit into small nooks very well. While I was getting situated a guy named Super, who runs the Mt. Laguna outfitter (mile 43) came by southbound and chatted me up about the tent and my hike. Once he'd moved on, I got everything inside the tent just in time for random, very short (on the order of 1-2 seconds) splatters of rain and hail to start bouncing off of it. Should be a long night, but I've rarely been this confident about having a weather-worthy setup with the Hexamid before.