Total Miles: 383.9
The wind had abated and we were back on the trail under clear, cold skies after a fantastic evening with some fantastic hosts. Back up on the PCT, we quickly realized what kind of night it had been when we saw hoarfrost still clinging between the needles of the piñon pine from the frozen wind.
The upshot of the weather was that the climb up and over Mt. Baden Powell was under perfect conditions—50 degrees and barely a hint of breeze remaining from the overnight tempest.
Even at the summit, conditions were calm but completing devoid of the sweeping views we had hoped for from the broad perch at 9200 feet. What did we see? Well, a lot of cloud cover to the south, peek-a-boo views of the desert to the north, and a drone that someone decided to launch and hover around the summit for a good 15 minutes. It was truly a first. To everyone's mutual annoyance, it sounded like an apiary abuzz with activity. Ah, the sweet sound of wilderness.... No surprise on a trail accessible to legions of day hikers on a Saturday afternoon.
Just down from the summit stood the Wally Waldron tree, a limber pine believed to be 1500 years old.
No less impressive was this cedar that XC (and several other people) could have stood in and had a conversation.
Although the winds have come and gone, the cold front has left behind much cooler temperatures. At 7500 feet, it'll likely be down in the teens or twenties overnight tonight, and so I write this from inside my sleeping bag wearing every single layer I have with me. The impending cold of the night was made slightly worse when, to my surprise, I realized that the fuel bottle for my stove had gone missing. I can only assume it slipped out of my pack's outer mesh pocket when transferring packs into and out of cars while we were in town yesterday. So, instead of warm soup, I ate a cold brick of Ramen noodles with a seasoning packet sprinkled on top. Appetizing, no?
Not all is lost, though. Since it's a weekend and we're in for the night at a well-established campground, there are close to 50 tents huddled together here on this sheltered slope and we were invited to enjoy a nearby campfire—a trail rarity—as well as some leftover hotdogs, hamburgers, and marshmallows. If that's not trail magic, I truly do not know what is.
The true highlight of the day though was reuniting with Beardoh and Sweet Pea, two wonderfully kind, fun, and amiable thru-hikers who we've seen sporadically and were hoping to catch up to. Really looking forward to spending more time with them over the next few days on the trail.