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67 — Hoover Tioya Wilderness

67 — Hoover Tioya Wilderness

Strider Jul 11th, 2022
Strider's 2021 PCT Thru-Hike

Mile 994.1–1009.9 (15.8 miles)

Passed Mile 1000!

Rose: climb up this pass, sweeping views Thorn: mind game of having Shuffles & Pebbles catch up with me, wildfire smoke obscuring the departing view of the Sierra Bud: chips and beer tomorrow, almost to Tahoe

The wind started at 2am. It wasn’t the worst wind on trail by far, but it was enough noise in the tree tops that I had to put in my earplugs to get back to sleep. I monitored the tent all night. Consequently, I’m pretty tired this morning. I’m going to take a little more of a sleep in since I doubt I’ll be able to take a nap with the bugs this afternoon.

My feet are so sore and swollen from the last few days. They have been working so hard with all the prioperception on the wobbly Yosemite trails. My toes are also gripping the ground extra hard since my shoes have little tread left.

Dorothy Lake was a pretty lake. If it weren’t for the mosquitoes, it would be a most pleasant place to spend an afternoon. It was also the last glimpse of the Sierra’s jaggy peaks, lush valleys, and alpine lakes. The scenery almost immediately changed at the top of Dorothy Pass: to the south with alpine lakes and granite peaks, to the north rounded red rock and green forests, yellow soil.

I am sad to leave behind such grandiose scenery. It has been incredibly hard days of elevation gain and loss, but the views have been worth it. (I do wish for some soft trail though. These rocks are tough on the feet.) I only wish I could have lingered in a few spots for a whole afternoon. That’s the downside to the PCT: you have to keep moving forward, you can’t doddle.

Shuffles caught up with me just before the mile 1000 marker. It made me sad and frustrated with myself. I knew they were going to catch me, that after three town zeros and the vacation with Casey, that they were only 0.5–1 day behind. But dang, I didn’t want them to catch up. It was ever present in the back of my mind.

Ultimately, I have found better support and group dynamics with other groups. I wish the Gibb, Magic Beans, and Hurdle group had managed to stay together. I felt supported while having fun with that group. I know I will see them individually again. I hope I can project wanting to stay a free agent and let Shuffles and Pebbles just be familiar faces in the bubble that I break with every now and then. Ultimately, we are hiking different hikes. We approach the trail differently, we value different experiences, we spend money differently, we hike different speeds, and they stopped engaging with me before I left. It hurt. I was in my head all the time when I was hiking with them. My imposter syndrome was in full effect. I don’t want to experience that again.

It also emphasizes the time that I gained in my jump ahead has elapsed. I have no wiggle room anymore. I spent up that time. I spent it how I wanted to: with laughs, new friends, zeros in cool towns they barely stopped in, but, time to refocus. I have to hustle to make it to Canada.

After Dorothy Pass, the trail descended into a hot dabbled forest of pine. It seemed immediately drier than the previous Sierra with sparser vegetation and less dense ground cover. The trail was relatively flat compared to the last month. Then it quickly ascended to this unmarked, unnamed? pass. Beautiful. We ascended out of the timberline to rocky alpine with tiny plants. You could see the whole ascent from the bottom, cut into the fine rocky hillside by an ambitious trail crew who made it as wide as a car. The grade was moderate (for once. Looking at you Yosemite.), the wind was consistent but not strong, and the sun was at a slant in the late afternoon, so the ascent was actually very pleasant.

The pass worked up to a ridge which we will follow all the way to Sonora Pass. The view was supposed to be stunning. It still was beautiful. However, the ridges beyond the most immediate were obscured by the haze of wildfire smoke. Ever so faintly you could make out the outline of the Sierra to the south. It did not feel like the proper goodbye, the grandiose send off that the vista normally would have supplied. Oh well.

It was tempting to stay there to see if the view would have been clearer in the morning, but instead I moved on. I didn’t go all the way to the last campsite on the ridge like I and many others had planned. I passed by ChitChat and Salt who had gotten a flat, wind protected spot. With the narrow ridge, I decided to join the good looking spot rather than chance it ahead. I suppose not joining Shuffles and Pebbles at camp probably sends a message about my independence. My motives weren’t rejection of them but embrace of my independence.

At camp: ChitChat, Salt

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