Today was a breakthrough day: the trail was relatively clear of snow, and, though we got lost a few times, Honeybuzz, Annie and I were able to maintain a good pace and hiked 26 miles – my biggest day since hitting the Sierras.
We crossed Highway 88 at Carson Pass and talked for a while there with a ranger named Tom. He surveyed us on whether we packed out our used toilet paper or buried it (split responses), gave a conditions report, and then mentioned that a motorcyclist had missed a curve at the pass and died about an hour earlier, 100 yards from where we were standing. As it turned out, we had to walk past the fatal spot to rejoin the PCT, and, while we quietly passed a few feet away on the shoulder of the highway, several sherriffs were loading the bagged body into an unmarked van. It was an intense and sad moment, backed by Tom’s earlier advice: “Remember to smell the flowers and listen to the birds out there. Appreciate it while you can.”