NCT Mile 118.5 to 126.5

Checkout time at the Sunshine Motel & Cabins was 1000am, but that doesn’t mean we had to start the trail at that time, far from it.  With heavy rain in the forecast, our plan for the day was to take it slow.  There’s no reason to hike in the rain if you don’t have to.  Unlike a few days ago, we had options.

We started our day out with breakfast back at Styls cafe.  It was delicious.  Even picked up fresh baked Apple Fritters & custard filled Long Johns for the inevitable long wait we would have in the car waiting for the rain to pass.

You might think that sitting in a car for four hours waiting for the rain to stop was boring, but it really wasn’t a bad way to spend the day.  We played Rummy in the backseat for a while.  When the rain really got heavy, we put on a podcast about serial killers and their victims while I napped and Brianna stretched out to relax.  We knew that starting the day out dry was worth lazing around together for a while.

The first part of our trail today really was pristine.  A wheelchair accessible path down to O Kun De Kun Falls allowed us to make great time over the first mile and a half.  Our female hiker friends from a few days ago had warned us about a trail diversion coming up that was due to a beaver dam causing a normal river crossing to become too wide and too deep.  All we really wanted to get done today is to get past the beaver pond.

We were told that there would be some bushwhacking involved for finding the diverted trail and they were right.  The difference between walking an established trail and making your own is a lot of extra time and calories burned.  

We were geared up in emergency ponchos to keep the wet world from touching our stuff.  Our stuff didn’t get dry, but you can imagine how thin plastic held up through all the bushwhacking.  While we weren’t the first people on the diverted trail, it was pretty rough going.  Our ponchos looked like we had gotten into a fight with the beaver and the beaver had won.

Even with the beaver pond diversion, we made a solid 8 miles in around 4 hours.  We left the car around 330pm and arrived to camp by 730pm.  Camp spot for tonight is a grassy NCT parking lot just off Gardner road.  Pretty slick spot for being nowhere.  We could have hiked a couple more miles before camping tonight but that would violate trail rule #242 – Don’t pass up a good thing in search of a better thing.

We are hoping to put a good amount of miles in tomorrow, see if we can put ourselves in range of making the next hiker shelter on Wednesday night.