26 miles (25 PCT miles +1 mile off trail for water)
PCT mile 1252
If you ever want to find out if a thru-hiker slept well...just ask them: "Did you hear any noises in the night, last night?" If the answer is no they most definitely had a sound night of sleep. If they answer with "yes" it's most likely to follow with a colorful story.
Some of you have heard of my stories: "what sounded like an elephant stampeded by my tent at 4am" or "the snort that sounded much like a horse right outside my tent shortly after I crawled in it for the night." Let's be realistic an elephant and a horse? Most likely not the creatures to be found in the wild in the woods where the PCT travels. From process of elimination you may be able to guess exactly what I was hearing...or so I thought.
Last night proved me wrong. It was probably around 10pm, Vee and I had not long ago crawled into our tents and were not quite asleep yet. Then the noises began. It sounded like a person, 2 footed and not exactly quiet as it walks, I assumed it could probably be a thru-hiker walking around looking for a campsite. After a good 30 minutes of this nonsense, tree branches started falling between Vee's and my tent. I finally yell "What the hell was that?" Nothing from Vee...and then I hear the creature wander off.
The noises came back to me in my sleep. I could hear them from afar...I'll wake myself up when they get closer...I thought in my slumber. And I did just that. It was 2am and the creature came back. "Go away" and again I heard it wander off.
My conversation with Vee this morning, I ask "Did you hear those noises, last night?"
Vee replies, "I was so scared. I'm so glad you were here. I would have shit myself if you weren't."
"What the hell was it?" I ask.
"I thought it was Namaste looking for a campsite, as he doesn't have a headlamp. Until the branches started falling from the tree." He answered.
We spent the next few minutes discussing the noises and agreed it sounded more like a person than an animal. The mystery remained to be answered.
I have the answer...these woods are haunted. There are enchanted creatures that come out at night to spook thru-hikers. I spent the better half of my morning convincing myself of this. I became so convinced that I started seeing things in the woods and felt something was following me all day long, I'd see something out of the corner of my eye, I'd turn quickly to catch it, but it was gone before I could confront it eye to eye. Oh what a mess I have created!!!