Thursday 23rd June
Start: Klum Landing, mile 1738
End: South Brown Mountain Shelter, mile 1761
Firstly I am happy to report that Conrad has not dropt dead following his suspected tarantula bite!!! Whatever is biting us though it not very considerate.
Camp departure down to 1.5 hours today, we made some good first miles whilst still cool. On the way uphill to the first spring a number of fallen trees had been freshly logged to maintain the trail. We thought all the horror stories we have been hearing about the down trees would therefore have now gotten ‘sorted’. The issue seems to be that this part of the US has experienced 2 years of draught, followed by a heavy snowfall last winter. The result? Well we witnessed it in abundance later in the day! Hiking uphill, with a large heavy pack on the back is difficult enough without having to keep climbing up/ under/ circumventing fallen trees. They are a real pain. This slowed us down somewhat. I would also like to point out that today’s mileage does not reflect the ‘extra’ miles spent walking around this debris!
On the final 2 miles of the day we passed a couple from Ashland who were foraging for mushrooms. I personally hate mushrooms. However, thanks to them if the time comes when we are desperate for food we have something to fall back on!
At 4pm we arrived at South Brown Mountain Shelter. This is a small RUSTIC wilderness shelter kindly built in 1993 by the National Guard. We gave it a little inspection and decided to put our tent up outside! I’m sure the wooden benches would have been real comfortable, but there were lots of insects inside and so far our track record of being bitten is not good. I’m also scared of mice. Inside there is a wood burner to heat the place and a PCT register so we spent time reading the comments of the hikers who have come before us. Unfortunately no one has come southbound so there is no trail info on the conditions up there.
We were not alone for long. Whilst sitting outside trying to address my foot issues (on a wonderful picnic bench no less) people started swinging by. Firstly the mushroom couple arrived to take a look at the cabin. They were real chatty! Then a female couple called Teach and Chong (trail names not real) who were section hiking stopped by. Finally an older gentleman from north of Seattle named Loren arrived for the night. He is out to finish his section-by-section hike of the entire trail ending at Timberline Lodge. He is twice as fit as us!
That evening Loren was good company. He is full useful hiking advice, kindly going out of his way to share tips and show us pieces of kit and food. From talking to him (and others) we have added a few extra things to our shopping list. We especially want to switch our stove to a gas one as everyone else has always finished eating before we can even boil water.
I enjoyed our evening in camp with the Yurt Man, despite the cold. I was a little unsettled going to bed though after his story of seeing a local mountain lion, and of a male marathon runner who was recently killed by one in southern California!