July 7th, 2021
Mile Marker: 1160.8
Miles Hiked Today: 25
I woke up this morning excited because it was Planners Birthday! In South Lake Tahoe all of us talked about what we wanted to get her, and how we wanted to celebrate. We had decided that the day was going to have different phases and all of us had equally divided the goodies to carry for a couple days.
The morning started with putting about 10 candles in a honey bun and walking over to Planners tent at 6 am to wake her.
She had started moving around and Journey, Conrad, and I tried to block her view while we lit the candles. Little did we realize the candles were the sparkling, trick candles. 🤦🏽♀️
We walked over and all of us started singing Happy Birthday and had her blow them out.
I was a little nervous as the candles wouldn’t blow out and well… if anything went wrong with them it wouldn’t be the best for the dry forest. Conrad and I helped Planner blow on them and make sure they were completely out.
Planners face was lit with joy. I just knew it was going to be a great day.
After the phase one celebration we cruised out of the camp spot talking about past birthdays and our ideal birthday day. Late morning we hiked onto an incredible ridge line. I mean, incredible. We could see the bald mountain tops and the blue sky contrasting. It was my favorite to see the trail far into the distance. It reminded Planner and I a little bit of Franconia Ridge.
After another hour or so we were taking a break and decided it was time for phase two; watermelon sour patch kids. Planner had told us that she always eats watermelon on her birthday and since we can’t pack that out, we got her those instead.
From there we continued on for about another hour and at 2 pm found ourselves at Donner Ski Ranch.
This place was known to hikers as a place to get a good meal and a free 40 Oz malt liquor. I couldn’t imagine many people passing this place as it was right off trail.
We considered this phase three of Planners birthday. We had a nice meal and even some trail magic as Primetime had some friends drop off some fresh fruit and PBRS for him to share.
We ate a ton of food, drank beers, and all felt like we were in a coma immediately. It was a super sunny day on open ridge lines with no shade cover. So after 17 miles, food and beer, we were toast.
We decided that we still needed to stick to the plan and hiked on 7ish more miles. This had us landing at Peter Grub Hut.
I didn’t have any idea what to expect other than a shelter with water, but I was blown away when I arrived.
It was a legit cabin with two floors. It made me think of the Roan Mountain Shelter on the AT, except this one was more spacious and actually had tables in the inside.
I decided it was too hot for me to sleep inside so I set up my tent but for phase 4 of the night. Bottleneck performed a little drama and we all pulled out small boxes of wine that we had been carrying. Planner loved Rose, so we got 4 boxes of it to split between us.
Her face each time was priceless. I couldn’t get over it.
We ended the night with phase 5 which was making brownies from a “brownie in a cup” mix. I was feeling the stress making it since we didn’t have a microwave to properly cook it but in the end, it still tasted absolutely delicious.
We wanted to make a birthday on trail as special as we could and judging the smile on Planners face, I think we did it.
Plan Plan, thank you for being one of a kind. You are truly one of the most selfless, genuine, loving, person I have ever met. You really are a bright light in every life you walk into. But most of all, thank you for asking me to hike with you on the AT and becoming one of my best friends. ❤️
Iz and Oz