PCT SOBO DAY 45 – magical south brown mountain shelter

Tent site – piped Spring
29.5 miles. 2758ft up. 3349ft down. 

It’s definitely taking longer to get light in the morning. I delayed getting up until 6 and even then I could only just about see what I was doing. I was on the trail at 6:30am. Only 3 miles in I felt the call of nature so I went off trail to leave the kids in the woods and carried on. 

There were a few deer milling about this morning, eyeing me with suspicion from a safe distance as I went by. 11 miles to water. The trail was nice and flat with only a few blowdowns early on and a few small ups and downs. In the shade of the trees for most of the morning it was cool. I could hear the water but before I could get to it I had another, this time much more urgent, call of nature. I ran off into the forest, crunching through all the dead branches and leaping over logs until I found a spot which I hoped was far enough off trail. What would be worse, to be caught with your pants down or to poo yourself? I think probably pooing yourself would be a whole lot harder to deal with. 

Well, luckily I got my pants down in time and no one saw me so everyone’s a winner. I got to the water in 4 hours, a little ahead of schedule so I treated myself to a little half hour break and ate some snacks. I had a little bit of cell service, actual 3G, so I contacted a few people and quickly checked if there was anything I was missing out on. 

The trail then crosses Highway 140 before gently climbing up through the lava rock. The path through the rock is amazing. There are about 10 or so of these lava sections broken up by bits of forest which bring welcome shade from the heat of the exposed rocks. 

I was aiming for the South Brown Mountain Shelter which is about .2 of a mile off the PCT and is the next water supply. When I got to the trail junction there was a cardboard sign saying ‘magic’. I tried not to get my hopes up as I didn’t know how old the sign was but when I got there, inside the shelter were two coolers full of ice cold beers and sodas. Had I been there earlier it seems there were snacks too but a Gatorade suited me just fine. There was fresh ice in the coolers and the Gatorade was so welcomed after that hot climb through the lava. 

I sat in the shelter for half an hour. I inspected my grubby face and when I untied my hair it stayed in the exact same place. I haven’t brushed it for about a month. I am really looking forward to having clean hair. 

It was time to go, I had 8 more miles to the next water and my planned camp site. I filled my water bottles from the stand pump (which was surrounded by wasps) and I cheekily packed out a another Gatorade. 

The trail climbed up nearly 1000ft and at the top on the climb the trees opened out to a view of Mt Shasta off in the distance. I got to the trail junction for the spring at 6:30. A 12 hour day. I didn’t bother to go to the spring though as I still had enough water from the shelter. I found a little camp spot next to the trail. It had some deer tracks in. Hmm. I don’t want to go any further so I set up my tent there anyway. 

I ate the same dinner as last night. It wasn’t quite as delicious as last night and I had to force down the last third. I don’t think I shall be attempting that meal again. 


It’s dark now by about 8:15 and pitch black by 8:30. This is not good. I’m going to have to start getting used to doing things in the dark. 

I can hear things moving in the woods. The breaking of branches and steps on the ground. I assume it’s deer. A while later I hear music, a hiker is going by in the dark with their music playing out loud. I can’t tell if they are going north or south. I think they go down to the spring. 

I have still been seeing some nobos today but they are getting less. 

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I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Donate here.

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3 thoughts on “PCT SOBO DAY 45 – magical south brown mountain shelter

  1. Love those paths thru the lava and so thankful to those who built them. Funny hair shot. 😄 Yer doing great, impressive mileage. How’s the KT tape doing for you? Hugs from one who has been there.

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  2. Hair that stays in a ponytail when you take out the band! Too funny and maybe the natural version of Got2B Ultra Glue for hair– but without paying $3.99 and with dirt and bits of trail as added bonus. Thanks, showed my daughter, she really laughed. So enjoying your posts. Maybe think about amassing and publishing them when you’re done. Yours are so well written, and personal, and gritty, and really let the reader follow you down the trail and in your head. An AT hiker did that, self published on Amazon and told me he is financing his PCT hike this year with what he is making. And your writing is stellar, it would sell, I’d buy it -others would too.

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  3. Those are some really dirty feet! 🙂 I don’t miss that part of the trail.

    South Brown Mountain Shelter treated you well. Not so last year NoBo for me, but still a good spot to get water.

    Those red trails through the lava are special. The portions that did NOT have the red crushed scoria in them sure tore up my shoes. Hope yours held up.

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