Saturday July 31, 2021
Start: 1 tent campsite alongside Cow Creek (dry)
End: a few miles past Cottonwood Pass
Miles: 28.2 (+0.4 for water at Dead Canyon)
It rained hard from maybe 8pm until 11pm, completely soaking the tent both inside and out. I woke up around 5am and remained in my sleeping bag for an extra 10 minutes because it was too cold and wet outside. I got up around 5:15 and wiped down the tent as best as I could, and tried to avoid getting anything more wet than it already was. I was up and out by 6am.
In my first few hours, I met Snorkel, a woman from SoCal who would have been finishing her entire PCT section hike today, except she’d had to go around the fire near Donahue Pass on this trip. She was ending her hike at Kennedy Meadows (and she didn’t understand the big fuss over Kennedy Meadows either). We chatted for at least 10 minutes; it was just so nice to see someone else out on trail.
It was very overcast and cool for most of the day. The advantage to this was it got me through some longer water carries. However, at 3pm, huge thunderstorms came through, with torrential rainfall and hail. It continued for about an hour before tapering off. I had made the excellent choice to throw on my shell when the rain started, and that helped hold the cold at bay (along with ducking under dry trees occasionally). As I was walking through the thunderstorms, I met Scotty, a PCT section hiker from North Boston, who was hunkered down by a rock with his umbrella waiting out the storm.
After the storm cleared, the sun started poking its head out from behind the clouds, which made for more pleasant walking. This inspired me to continue forward, especially as my end goal comes into view, both literally and metaphorically.
At the last water source, I decided to push onward at least to Cottonwood Pass. And once I got there, I decided to keep going for a while. I finally stopped a few miles away from the next water source at 7:30pm, so I could set up my wet tent and give it some time to dry before hopping in. I also went through my bear canister and found that I have at least an extra day of food, so I ate some while I waited for dinner to cook.