74.7 Guernsey Creek to 100.8 Horseshoe Gulch
It rained for a long time. I fell asleep around 8 and woke up several times to it still raining. Some time towards the middle of the night it finally stopped. I heard 5 Star and Songbird rustling around. I checked my phone and it was 4am. What the heck! Way too early.
Everything was damp. Some things soaked. The inside was wet from condensation. The bottom of my pack was wet where the rain dripped on it. I put on my shirt and shorts. They were cold and wet. Oh well. I hoped for a sunny day so I could lay out all my shit like it’s a garage sale.
I situate everything and get ready to move it all outside the tent. I had my umbrella open and under the vestibule to block any rain or wind. I also had my shoes out there since they were wet. I looked in my shoe and saw sunflower seeds. What the heck? How did those get there? I thought some hiker was messing with me but no one else camped by us. I called 5 Star over and he said I had a mousey friend take up residence in my shoe last night. He just decided to leave his seeds and a single turd after the rain stopped.
I finish packing and eat a biscuit. Some eggs, hash browns, ham steak, biscuits, bacon, French toast, and a glass of orange juice sounds good on a cold moist morning. We start moving and it is immediately uphill. The word for today is “uphill.” We start out at 9,900 feet and climb to 11,873 feet over Georgia Pass.
We filled up with water and moved on. A couple miles later we found where all the hikers were. There were over 15 hikers scattered around in the trees near Jefferson Creek. We crossed the little foot bridge over the creek and through the massive camping area. We get to the end and find the most inviting log ever. Why yes, I would like to sit on you and take a break. Songbird takes out her frosted flakes to eat. I munch on a couple things but I definitely didn’t enjoy it.
After 20 minutes or so we get up and start the 1,800 foot climb over 6 miles. I keep up with 5 Star and Songbird for about a mile before I start slowing down. About half way up I see a girl standing on a boulder that is in the sun. She’s holding her tent so it will dry. I say good morning and keep on keeping on.
I round the corner and see 5 Star standing there. We keep on hiking until we get to a stream. Songbird is already there talking to a girl. We talk to her for a bit and she said her dad called her the Green Streak because she is wearing all green and is fast. We tell her she should use that as her trail name. She takes off while we finish getting water.
I heave my pack and head up the trail. Only 800 feet left. Songbird motors on up the trail. I stick by 5 Star but it’s tiring. After a couple hundred feet we start to break out of the tree line and can see the surrounding moutains. It is absolutely beautiful.
We finally get to the top and Songbird wants a jumping photo. She claims she hates them but she was pretty excited when the picture came out well. I think she secretly likes them. Next she will ask for one of her doing a yoga stance on top of a mountain.
We start descending the pass and come to a dirt access road. On the trail marker post there is a new marker. The CDT! We are now officially on the Continental Divide Trail. Except we are southbounding and most CDT hikers northbound like on the PCT.
We head down a bit and find a good place to take all our damp gear out so it can dry. Since I’m a certified genius I stuck my poles next to my pad and hung up my rain jacket so it will dry and provide shade while I lay back and stuff my face. About 30 minutes later Sugar, whom we met on the first day, walked over and sat with us. She told she hiked the PCT in 2014.
After an hour and a half break we pack up our nice and dry gear and start heading down. 5 Star and I fly down the mountain. We did 3.2 miles in an hour. Just like old times. While on our descent we pass an old man with a Shiba Inu going up. He has nothing else. No water or anything. On our way down we don’t see where he could have jumped on the trail. Where the heck did he come from?
We get to the North Fork Swan Creek and wait for Songbird. We dropped 1,600 feet in 4 miles. Songbird shows up and we discuss water for the next stretch. We have a 10 mile dry stretch coming up towards the end of the day and want to make sure the water is where the databook and app says.
We hike on and come to a creek flowing really well. It is 0.7 miles before the one we were aiming for. We decide to get water here since the flow is nice. On the side of the trail are two gross and wet socks. 5 Star uses a trekking pole to hang them on different trees near the creek.
We eat a snack before heading to another long climb. This one is 1,100 feet over 2 miles. By this time it is around 2pm and I am getting tired. We had already done about 16 miles. 5 Star and Songbird take off up the mountain while I meander my way up. As I’m going up the sky is darkening and the wind blowing. It is looking like another storm. I want to get up and over the ridge before the lightning starts since I’m at 11,000 feet.
At the top I see 5 Star and Songbird sitting on a log. It is just starting to drizzle and 5 Star is putting on his rain jacket. I sit for a bit and put on mine and take out my umbrella. We start heading down and within 10 minutes the rain stopped and the sun was starting to poke out. I started to bake in my rain jacket.
We stop to take another break to take off the rain jackets and eat a snack. I eat this Nature Valley peanut butter cup thing. I can barely choke it down. I can’t wait for good food again.
We continue downhill for the next few miles until we get to Horseshoe Gulch. Its a tiny creek. We keep hiking until we come to an area that looks like we could shove a few tents in.
Less than 3 miles to the road to where we can catch a bus to Frisco.