Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Elevation gain/loss: 6063′ gain, 3682′ loss (corrected)
After a good night’s sleep, I was awake by 6am to pack up and eat a delicious breakfast made by MJ. We piled into her car and I was dropped off at the trailhead by 7:40.
It was a hot day, hitting 77 degrees actual and around 82 felt in the sun. There was a lot of hiking along ATV/OHV roads today. I took a wrong turn onto a paralleling road, but it only added a few tenths to my mileage. Earlier in the day, as I climbed, I passed Squirrel again. We said ‘hi’ and kept on going.
Once I made it into the Superstitions, there were quite a few sections of rough trails from a fire last year. Some parts had sustained climbs at 25% grade. This was made more difficult by my very worn shoes that started sliding on peddles and loose packed dirt. But I was delighted to find frequent water and full-fledged trees! It was a small taste of forest, and I was very grateful for it.
In the late afternoon, I met Jeff, a 2023 PCT hiker practicing for his May start. We chatted for fifteen minutes about the PCT, the Sierra, and long-distance hiking. It was a nice distraction and a reminder of the connections that can happen on trail.
I pushed until dark to camp at an established campsite, stopping at 7:15pm. I ended up near two tents, though I cowboy camped. The creek nearby provided great white noise. I’d gotten a look at the weather and knew tomorrow held rain, so I decided to get up early to be packed and moving before the storm blew in.