Day 27 (Friday, May 13): Guffy Springs (mi 364.36) to Little Jimmy Campground (mi 383.86), 19.5 miles. (up/down: 4739/-5429 + summit)
Happy Friday the 13th!
I left camp fairly early, to get to Inspiration Point Trailhead where I would potentially get a hitch to town. It was a nice walk down hill, passing by a couple different ski “hills”. The trail parallel a gravel road leading to various campgrounds. At one point, I was walking alongside a car with a Utah license plate! They stopped right below me as I came to an intersection. I was hoping they would wait for me and give me a ride; Utahans unite! Unfortunately, they were just throwing stuff away and left just seconds before I met the road. Turns out, they picked up a pair of hikers waiting at the trailhead too. Bummer.
I got the trailhead with a German I had been leapfrogging for a while. Wang and Goldenboy were also waiting. The traffic was very slow, not too surprising for a Friday Morning. I waited about 10 minutes, and still no had been picked up. A few more hikers arrived and got in the queue. My plan of waiting only 10 minutes quickly vanished. What the hell, I am already waiting, what is a bit longer? After about 20-30 minutes a car finally picked up the 4 hikers before me. About 5 minutes later, a car was dropping off a hiker and we got them to take us (Rusty, Lisa and I) to town.
I enjoyed breakfast at Grizzly Café (10% off), then walked over to Mountain Hardware to check out the very hiker friendly store and got my PCT Patch. From there I dropped pack and went Village Grind for a drink (free coffee, or $1 off beverage for hikers. Some fellow hiker trashes were already working on some beers, be it only 10 am. I stopped at the grocery store for some fresh fruit, retrieved my pack and then waited or a hitch back to trail. It took a while, but finally a nice man did a U turn and picked me up. His name was Rueben and he was a local psychologist, in fact the only one with a practice in the whole town! It was nice to talk to someone in the same field as I and he lifted my sprits telling me that I could conquer the whole trail with my attitude.
Not too far after being back on trail, I came to Grassy Hollow Visitor Center where there was a field trip. Little kids everywhere! At one point a group was learning about the PCT and stopped to ask me questions. My favorite, Q: Do you like hiking? A: Sometimes. I continued down the trail, to shortly later arrive at Vincent Gap, and man it was windy! This was the last stop before the climb up to Baden Powell. Here I met Chris, a section hiker. I said see ya later, and started my way up. Wow, what a climb. Switchback after switchback after switchback. I had to stop at nearly every turn for a quick breather. Man, the trail was kicking my butt! As I got closer to the top, the snow appeared, and became near impassable. At one point, I bypassed the trail and just got on my hands and feet and crawled up the side of the mountain, avoiding the slippery and steep snow pass.
Holy cow, it was windy! I swear there were 60 mph gusts and the sand was spitting at my face. I finally came to the trail junction to the summit. I dropped my pack, and weary it would blow away, I attached it to a tree root and made my way to the summit. I was certain I was going to get blown off trail, but I made it. Not as mind blowing as I was hoping, but still cool and a definite achievement. I took my pics and got back down as quick as possible. There was a trail about 2 miles down the trail where I would hopefully stop to eat and take a break at a campsite. Once I got there, it was already occupied and I didn’t want to invade their space. I had thought there was another trailhead after Vincent Gap, but I mistook it for the summit. It was nearly 4:30 by the time I found a place out of the wind to eat lunch.
My motivation and energy was running thin, blowing away with the wind. The climb and wind had given me a real beating. Little Jimmy Campground was still 4 miles away, but it felt like 10. Up and down I went, and repeat. I was beat. The last 3 miles felt like forever, but I finally made it to Little Jimmy at about 7:20. Usually when I get to camp, I feel like I could hike a little further if needed; Today, I was done! I have never been so done hiking. In fact, I was done hiking an hour or two before I even arrived. I skipped past the water source and just went straight to set up camp. I ran into Richard again who I hadn’t seen since before mile 100. We chatted and caught up as the sun went down. I skipped a hot dinner and just ate snacks and was just happy to not be walking.