Thursday June 18
This section, from Interstate 50 (Echo Lake) to Sierra City, is about 105 miles. By hiking a little over 20 miles per day, it should take a little over five days. Yesterday, we hiked about 17 miles. Today we hiked 27 miles!
The trail was relatively easy most of the day, so we made lots of miles. Unfortunately, most of the hiking was in the forest, so there weren't a lot of opportunities for great pictures.
There was an area with lots of bracken ferns, which were pretty in the sunlight.
The trail also passed through areas with lots of blooming flowers. I wish I knew what they are.
The terrain is rolling hills, so the climbs on the trail are usually fairly easy.
We climbed to a ridge and could see Lake Tahoe.
Now for a bit of gear review.
I have the Therma-Rest Neoair air mattress. I bought the full-length one. The mattress has internal baffles to aid in improving the insulating properties. The mattress comes with a stuff sack.
I love my mattress. It keeps me insulated from the ground, but just as important, it is comfortable to sleep on. The biggest concern is to ensure that no sharp objects come in contact with the mattress. That means keeping the mattress clean and the surface that it comes in contact with. I try to clean off the tent floor before inflating the mattress. I also always roll it up and store it in its storage bag.
If I were to do it again, I would buy a shorter mattress. My feet could just as easily rest on a stuff sack or my empty backpack. A shorter mattress is lighter and inflates/deflates faster.
Some people complain that the new mattress is "crinkly". The internal baffles make crunching sounds as you move about on the mattress. This was never a problem for me. Perhaps I was just too tired to notice. The crunching sounds seem to go away over time.
When I use the mattress, I put my shoes under the top of the mattress to make it elevated. I then use my extra clothes stuff sack as my pillow. It works great!
I am camped tonight at PCT mile 1138.1. The elevation here is 7,438 feet.