On waking this morning we could see blue sky and sunshine, luckily it has remained this way all day.
We rose at 6.30, restless and ready to leave the cabin. With a little effort the cabin returned to its initial state (almost) which was a releif after it had been home to so many people over the weekend. We breakfasted, had some coffee and begun packing our packs. During this time the girls and I (meg) couldn’t find a bag which had our microspikes. We turner the place inside out only for me to unpack my food bag, for a second time and find them there.
Two days previous i had been given a lift home by Brittany, a local mum. She and her husband moved their young family up here for an affordable life out of the big smoke. She gave me her number and said if I needed anything to call…so I did and she very happily agreed to drop us at the trail head. At 8 am our trusty ride turned up our the front of the cabin, and shortly after another local mum and real estate agent came too as our party of 6 people and packs was too much for one truck. Brittany was really excited by the PCT hikers she had met so far. She had another couple staying at her place and had decided that she would help out as a trail angel this season. At inspiration point we bundled out of the car, took a photo for Brittany, waved goodbye and headed up onto the trail.
All the snow in town had melted but the trail up this little bit higher was covered. In the early morning then pines were beautifully adorned in icy white snow. Pine trees, usually a little stark for me, really are lovely in the snow. As the morning sun begun to melt the snow away it fell heavily from the canopy of trees as we walked by. Doubt worry, no one got hit by any. This beauty could have been all the more enjoyed if our packs hadn’t been so heavy. We are carrying food for 6 days, and also we are dry camping tonight, which means we are carrying 5-6 litres each. My pack clung to my back pulling me into the earth, every step taxed my body and put me in a grumpy mood. The trail wound it’s way back to the highway, we crossed it flung our packs down organising the next little leg of today’s journey. As we ate snacks many other hikers rolled into the parking lot either on foot or in rides (some decided to skip the first 4 miles of the day).
Our plan today was to leave the PCT at the car park and walk 2 miles to Big Horn Gold Mine. The mine was set up long ago and is been closed for quite some time. It was Dave’s idea to take us, as he has been there before, and in doing so will allow us to summit Mt Baden-Powell early tomorrow morning when the snow is still icy. Icy snow is crunchy, you don’t posthole and your microspikes are able to get a good hold on the surface so you don’t slip too much. We walked off track along an old road. It seemed to be going up and up forever, and I was getting increasingly ambivalent about our choice….and then the road turned a corner and there it was. The mine, or what’s left of it, which is lots of steel frame and some corrugated iron, and some old hardwood juts out over an incredibly steep slope. If you were to step out of the steel frames that act as glassless windows you would fall to the river valleys hundreds of metres below. We dropped packs and enjoyed the first room of the mine. Afterwards we climbed up behind the building to the entrance to the mine which goes back into the mountain. You can climb through some steel fencing and wander the dark, dank and cold pathways. They are reinforced with steel and still have the old trolley lines running down them. There are pools of water, some graffiti and lots of rubbish. I was pleased to get back out into the day light where you can look across the valley to Mt Baldy.
We ate lunch in the sun and slumbered in the afternoon sun. A number of day hikers came in and out and at one point I curled up in the shade of a tree. It was so hot! Eventually, Tamika’s friends Chris (Jacob) and Mia turned up. After they did some exploring we followed dave almost back to the car park but not quite. This time he was taking us to Vincent’s cabin. It was built by the man who started the mine and has since been restored. It is a delight. A sweet pine cabin, dirt floors and surrounded by trees. We set up our tents, had some much needed tent time and then all gathered in its enterior for dinner. I was tired today, so I have come to bed early. Ready for an early rising and tomorrow’s summiting.