The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Monday 4 June 2012

Day 4 - Part 1 - mile 504.5 to mile 518

Tuesday 4 June (0500-1020)
Distance: 13.5 miles
Number of unnecessary hills: 52

It was cool this morning! With a wind having picked up, the 14 degrees per the thermometer felt much cooler. In fact, I spent the whole of last night in my sleeping bag, compared to none of the night before. That we were 5700' up may have been the main difference, rather than a significant change in the weather.

With sleepy heads and weary limbs we set out rather later than planned (sleepy heads = slow packing) thinking that it was just going to be a gentle walk down to Hiker Town. Disappointment comes with not looking at the map, and I confess that I hadn't looked at the map.

Below the hills on which we had camped is the dead-flat desert, but before that is a range of lumps which look like oversized sand dunes (well, I suppose that really is what they are). You'd think (or I thought) that we would descend, walk over a pass and then make our way over the flat plain. But no, instead the route gently traversed up one hill and around a spur, traversed back down the next little side valley, back up the other side, around the spur and repeat. We could see a track below us which would have taken us straight to our destination without any lumps, but the PCT planners obviously thought we needed some extra miles and ascent.

At 1030 we arrived at Hikertown (the home of some Trail Angels), having walked 13.5 miles. I've just measured, and we're a whole 3.25 miles, as the crow flies, from where we camped. Now that's a meandering route!

Once again, it was a route with stunning views, and thanks to the wind and a bit of a let-up in the heat (not to mention the hour of day), it wasn't unbearably hot. I only got through 2.5 litres of water all morning (talking of water, I was carrying 5 litres as well as five days of food when we left the water source yesterday - that was the heaviest pack I've ever carried!)

Since arriving at Hikertown, aside from doing lots of chatting, we have showered for the first time since last Thursday (I have never been so filthy - the dust has to be experienced to be believed), washing has been done (dried in about 3 seconds outside) and we've been trying to remedy a little bit of the calorie deficit.

In a few hours, we'll head back out for another few miles before camping. Really could do with a nap before then.

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