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[typography font=”Permanent Marker” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#8c0510″]Day 4[/typography]


If Day 3 was The Hardest Day of Hiking of My Life then Day 4 was The LONGEST Day of Hiking of My Life. Are you sensing a trend? This trip was HARD.

To get where we wanted to be for the night, we had 15 miles ahead of us. Easily the longest day of backpacking we’d ever done. 40+ pound packs, tired feet, and 15 miles of trail to chew — let’s go.

The good news was Day 4 would be long – but nearly flat. And because the previous days had been tougher than expected on my feet — I took Jeff’s suggestion of hiking in my Keens to give the hot spots on my feet a breather. If you had told me when we started backpacking years ago that I would not only abandon full boots, but trade my hiking shoes for water shoes?! I would never have believed you. But my feet were happy as a clam – all day. I’m thrilled to know I have that option now — I may hike in them more often.


We had a water crossing to get out of camp, and I skipped across the rocks pretty well. Too sleepy to be nervous.

And what better way to kick off a 15-mile day, than with a kiss from a llama?!

PCT_Yosemite_coolpix_5615_edit_resizeWe rounded a corner and saw a train of pack llamas headed right for us, and we all squealed. Llamas! This llama’s name was Sunrise, and we were positively gushing over the whole scene. I foresee a llama-supported trip in our future.

Just after the magical llama encounter we had a pretty hefty climb, but we’d started early and the weather was still pretty mild — and we much preferred doing the climb that morning than even considering doing it the afternoon before.


We were up and over the pass pretty easily, and headed for a pretty flat day of hiking. We were movin’ too — we covered 6.5 miles before we stopped for lunch.


Another Thru-Hiker friend, "OCD"
Another Thru-Hiker friend, “OCD”

15 miles wasn’t short, but it wasn’t the hardest day of our week — and we made it to Glen Aulin for the night. Glen Aulin is like an oasis in the desert — a roaring waterfall, dozens of campsites, cabins as part of a high sierra camp, and real bathrooms! (Backcountry bathrooms, let’s not get crazy. Think port-a-potties.) We had another round of deluxe Mac & Cheese and clouds rolled in and spit rain for a few minutes, but it was only enough to send us into a frenzy getting stuff put away — and then it stopped. We were too tired to make good use of the waterfall and vowed to check it out in the morning.

G’night, Glen Aulin.

Day 4 | 14.8 miles
Day 4 | 14.8 miles
Day 4 - Elevation
Day 4 – Elevation

[typography font=”Permanent Marker” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#8c0510″]Day 5[/typography]


Our last day in the backcountry is always bittersweet. We pack up the tent for the last time and we wear any last fresh clothes in the pack — sad that it has to end, but looking forward to a hot shower.

I mentioned the bear canisters. Here Jeff demonstrates the size of them — and what he believes is the only good use for them: a makeshift chair.

As promised, the falls. The night before we’d seen several people swimming in the pool just below the falls and part of me wished we’d had enough energy to get down there and take what a few hikers had told us was a “restorative” bath. (That’s code for COLD.)

Tuolumne Falls at Glen Aulin
Tuolumne Falls at Glen Aulin

Glen Aulin was gorgeous. I wished we could have been there more than the night — the entire area was beautiful and well-groomed and — though somehow there are no hikers in the photos — there were DOZENS of other hikers camped there. Quite the hot spot.


But as much as we wanted to stay, we had to get on the trail. We had 6 miles to hike and a ride waiting for us on the other side.

I snapped this as we approached the trailhead — the sky is really that blue and the view is really that perfect.


Our ride was waiting to take us to a world famous gas station for big, greasy cheeseburgers. Welcome back to civilization!

Day 5 | 5.85 miles
Day 5 | 5.85 miles
Day 5 - Elevation
Day 5 – Elevation

[typography font=”Permanent Marker” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#8c0510″]Headed Home[/typography]

We made it. And we loved it. IMG_9588

I know I’ve done some whining about the pack being heavy and the trail being hard and the miles being long, but it was all amazing. This is the hardest trip we’ve done – but as rewarding and memorable as ANY.

Since we got out of the woods a day early, we spent an extra night in Las Vegas before flying back home — and we indulged in a delicious dinner and a heartfelt toast: to thru-hikers and section-hikers alike, may the PCT treat you well!

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