Thursday July 23rd, 2015: Dry camp at mile 1855.9 of the PCT to Maidu Lake 1863.4, plus 0.75 miles off the PCT to the lake and 0.75 m back to it. Then from Maidu Lake turnoff to Tolo Camp mile 1870 – approx. 15.6 mile day
I slept amazingly, the trick to this is to hike all day until you are SUPER tired, then BAM! sleep like a baby kitty. I had mapped out an easier day today of 7.5 miles to Maidu Lake so we did not rush to get up and out leaving camp around 10am. The mosquitos are not terrible yet and we have only suffered a few bites each. The trail winds mostly through some old growth thick forest with limited views, although we got glimpses of Red Cone, Tipsoo peak and other peaks I could not identify on the map.
Our lunch spot was at a clearing along the trail that gave us a nice view of the surrounding forested hills and some birds flying around. We have seen very little wildlife so far besides birds, which me and Everything’s Awesome (aka EA) nerd out on. A few people have blisters and doctored them up before we headed back down the hill on long sweeping switchbacks. So far my combo of Darn Tough socks and Brooks Cascadia trail runners are keeping my feet totally happy! I cruise down the slopes, relishing all the new mountains, hills, and trees my eyes are sending to my brain. It is awesome as hell out here and I am in love.
We hit the trail junction that winds 3/4 mile down to Maidu Lake and it felt like the longest 20 minutes of my life walking down there. The lake was pretty and not too cold when we arrived, although the wind did pick up later and that changed things. Many of us got in the water a little ways, after washing our sunscreen and bug spray off in our pop up buckets, in a really uneven camp spot right by the trail.
After our recharge we discussed if we should continue hiking today because otherwise we would have a very long day tomorrow. Always the debate of should we just do a long day now and get it over with or rest up and tackle it tomorrow? I was in the get it over with today camp since this spot was not awesome and I was feeling really rested and ready for more after our break.
It was 4pm by this point so there was still lots of time left in the day, plus the wind was really starting to pick up at the lake. The wind sealed the deal and we voted to move on to Tolo Camp and Six Horse spring. On the way we had some great views out of the forest down onto Miller Lake (which is horseshoe shaped) but mostly we are in the trees with no views, which makes the time drag by.
Later we had to cross a super sketchy talus slope with a big drop on our right side. Hiddy Ho has a hard time with heights so needless to say she was not excited about this spot AT ALL. We all went in front of her to give her space. As a fun twist she does not like it if you look at her while crossing scary things, so we all casually whistled and looked up at the trees. Do what you gotta do. The view here was very pretty after a long time in the trees and we all made it across safely and moved on.
It was a long 6ish miles to Tolo Camp and Six Horse Spring. Me and Everything’s Awesome walked the crazy switchbacks 4/10th of a mile down to the spring, which was not a nice water source at all but we filtered it out and it didn’t taste bad.
The long climb back up the switchbacks with heavy water was the best part of the day of course. There were also a lot of thru-hikers with ultra light tents camped here and it made for a poor choice in spots to set up, so we were closer to the trail then is advisable but there were no other options within our abilities for the evening. Everyone quickly ate dinner with the sunset and got in their tents to pass the F out.