Hitch #8 – Rock & the Hard Place


It twas a bittersweet morn the PCT team made their way to the tram to High Camp one more time. The team was already thinking about the move north to the Klamath National Forest and their final hitch, but wanted to make the most out of their last eight days in Truckee. For the team’s last excursion on the Tahoe National Forest, they were headed to the most heavily used portion of the Pacific Crest Trail that they had yet to spend time on. The length of trail between Squaw Valley and Sugar Bowl was a popular destination for short-term backpackers, day-hikers, and trail runners as well as the thru-hikers they had come accustomed to. In addition to the extra traffic, the crew also was plus a PCTA volunteer, Paul, who was very enthusiastic about taking his trail skills to the next level.
The task at hand was to repair and improve a section of check-steps that was crumbling under the weight of the stock crossing over it. However, the mission sounds much easier than it turned out to be. You see the reason the steps were falling apart is because the ground that said steps were built into was not your average mineral soil, it was in fact granite bedrock. Of course, as all great trail workers do, when the PCT team ran into a wall, they began to lace up their boots and run head first into it. The crew spent the better part of entire days trying to dig each and every hole to plant steps into. However, the extra time spent on each project afforded the team the ability to take notice of something that had been right in front of their faces for much too long. It seems that two members, Dan and Matt, operated in a certain mannerism reminiscent of the classic characters Pinky & the Brain. With Matt’s perpetual scheming and quiet strategery, and Dan’s constant laughter and strong backbone, the two were a match made in heaven. Also, the team’s newest member, Sadie, found a way to utilize her low center-of-gravity to help increase efficiency as she was able to support her fearless leader and his ultra high center-of-gravity to dig out their holes extremely speedily.
In addition to the check steps that engrossed the crew, they were also able to engage themselves in brushing over 9300’ of trail, learn some investment strategies and constellations from Paul, the PCTA volunteer, and clean up from the wreckage of a family of bears bumbling through their camp. Don’t worry, the only thing the bears were successfully able to do was break a bottle of vegetable oil which was locked inside the bear can, leading to a plague of greasy fingers running rampant through the team.
With that the PCT crew wrapped up its final hitch on the Tahoe National Forest and took a few breathes and few dips in Lake Tahoe before rolling up north to the Klamath National Forest, and setting out in their final excursion. Saying goodbye to their second forest and beginning to make out the end of the team in sight, PCT2K12 set out North for their last hurrah.